Children’s Foundation to launch 2010 campaign to fight cruelty to children
Elena Selyanchenkova, from the Foundation for Support to Children in Need announced this at the final meeting of the Social Journalism Club. The Social Journalism Club is a programme run by the Foundation, involving regional journalists who write about children’s issues as recommended by members of local social services or other members of the club. The programme aims to raise awareness among journalists writing about social issues, inform them about how problems of children and families with children in need are being dealt with, and what the federal structures are doing in these fields. Thematic seminars are organised for club members. The first, on prevention of social disadvantage, was in April, the second was in November, on prevention of cruelty to children. In 2009 journalists from 72 regions of Russia attended these seminars. Speakers included representatives of federal ministries, foundations and NGOs concerned with children’s issues, such as senior members of the Duma, and the Federal Assembly. On 20 November, International Day of the Child, the last session of the club for this year took place, and dealt with responsible parenthood and child cruelty. Elena Selyanchenkova briefed on the new campaign against cruelty to children, run jointly by the Foundation, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the regions. It will be based on tasks identified in a decision of the presidium of the Presidential Council on priority projects and demographic policy at its meeting in April. The aim is to educate society that cruelty to children is unacceptable. Responsible parenting and support for parents who want to bring up their children without the use of physical chastisement are the main issues. There will also be a phone helpline for children with easy to remember numbers, and the third aim is to improve legislation.
Selyanchenkova said the Duma was considering legislation which would provide for severe punishments for cruelty to children. In 2010 there will be an information campaign about Russia’s interest in the raising of children without violence. Books and television programmes will focus on this theme, as well as adverts on public transport and newspapers. She said that most people working with children were not trained to spot signs of abuse. They need advice on where to turn when they discover such evidence. After the final session there was a ceremony at which awards were presented for the best publications on these topics. Among those eligible to compete were authors of articles in regional media published between April and October. There were 133 entries from 30 regions. Winners included Ruslana Rystsova (Pskov), Marina Parenskaya (Astrakhan), who wrote on social integration of children with special needs. Among others who received awards were Aleksander Radevich (Izhevsk), Emma Menshikova (Lipetsk), and Aleksei Talashkin (Novosibirsk).