Medvedev joins the new movement “No Cruelty to Children”

The presentation of this new movement took place on 25 May at the Public Chamber as part of a nationwide campaign to combat cruelty towards children. The organisers of the meeting were the Public Chamber, the Foundation for Supporting Children in Difficult Living Conditions and the Agency of Social Information (ASI). In his address President Medvedev talked about the need to react to each case of cruelty towards children and develop a system to prevent social orphanhood, child homelessness and neglect, and he considered it his duty to join the movement.  Other people who spoke out in favour of the movement were the fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev and the television presenter Ekaterina Strizhenova.

According to the chair of the Foundation’s board, Marina Gordeeva, the main objectives of the campaign this year will be support to mothers and fathers who want to bring up children without the use of force, the creation of a single confidential help line for children (August-September) and an infrastructure for assisting children, and tightening the legal prosecution of those causing harm to children. The internet portal  was launched on 25 May to assist parents in the campaign and will contain addresses of psychological services in many regions of Russia as well as advice for parents. The Foundation will also co-finance programmes in the regions for creating special social services for children, consulting centres, “social hotels” and special medical teams. An earlier study carried out by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences amongst over 1000 participants aged from 16-44 in the Russian regions showed that 52% of parents resort to physical violence in bringing up their children, while 38% of men and 24% of women do not regard themselves as completely responsible parents.

At the conclusion of the meeting a ceremony took place for those joining the new movement, with participants including the heads of federal and regional state authorities, the Public Chamber, the business community and NGOs. Those wishing to join the movement will be able to do so on the portal . Participants in the campaign have already started various activities such as free education for orphans, charity rock concerts, etc.

Speaking after the meeting the director of ASI, Elena Topoleva, said that a start had been made on tackling cruelty against children. There were still problems about how to protect Russian children against violence without causing the family itself to break up, how children in institutions could use a hot line if they had no telephone, what should be defined as cruelty to children apart from its most extreme forms, etc. It was important to unite all efforts to combat cruelty to children, she concluded.

Information:The Nationwide Information Campaign to Combat Cruelty to Children is being conducted  by the Foundation to Support Children in Difficult Living Conditions and the Ministry of Health and Social Development on the instruction of the Council of the President of the Russian Federation as priority national projects. The following events are part of its programme for summer-autumn 2010. Conference on 1 June, “From Whom and from What Must Our Children be Protected?”  Discussion club “We will Defend Childhood” (27 May, RIA Novosti); presentation of toys and children’s products to social institutions in St. Petersburg as part of the charity marathon “Children Without Cruelty and Tears” (28 May);  charity concert “Art Against Cruelty” (1 June), awarding the winners of the creative competition “ Bringing Up Children Without Abuse or Humiliation” (1 June);  All-Russian Children’s Forum “Children Against Violence” (28 July); open classes in schools on the campaign theme (1 September); various activities in Russian cities, including concerts with the common name “Music Against Cruelty”(20 November), etc.  There will be a total of 64 projects in 2010 to combat cruelty to children in 34 regions of the Russian Federation, while in 10 there are programmes on the same theme (grants made by the Foundation to Support Children in Difficult Living Conditions).  

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