The first centre in Kyrgyzstan has opened in Bishkek to provide assistance to children who have suffered violence and cruel treatment
(Bishkek, 16 December 2011) - “We adults should do all we can to protect children from violence, neglect and abuse,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan, at the opening ceremony. “We hope that this Centre will be a model for the creation of a nationwide child protection services.”

Thespecial reaction service was created to provide timely legal and psychological assistance to children who have suffered violence and cruel treatment in the family, at school or outside. The model has been tested for almost two years by the Bishkek Mayor’s Office, the Ministry of Social Protection, the Interior Ministry and the non-governmental League of Child Rights Defenders, with consultative and financial support from UNICEF in Kyrgyzstan.

“One of the priorities of the Social Protection Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2012-14, as approved by the Government on 13 December 2011, is the creation of a specialised system of social services to help children without parental care, and children who suffer violence in the family, on the street or in residential institutions,” said Aigul Ryskulova, Minister of Social Protection, at the ceremony.

Special mobile teams, made up of representatives of city social protection, healthcare and education services, as well as law enforcement agencies, will work in all districts of Bishkek. On receiving information of a threat or case of violence, the trained mobile teams will be able to mobilise rapidly to provide urgent assistance to the child. A helpline will be in operation at the Centre, which can be used by children and adults for help with protection from violence or to receive qualified assistance from specialists.

The Bishkek Mayor’s Office has provided premises, and UNICEF has contributed $130,000 for renovation, equipping the centre and implementing the project as a whole, including the training of specialists and mobile teams, and developing methodology. Next year it is planned to continue training specialists and strengthening the mechanism for coordinated action by the various agencies in reacting to cases of violence against children. It is also expected that the experience of the pilot Centre will be used in the future for the opening of similar services nationwide.

As of today, about 380,000 children are covered by the social protection system, about 13,000 children receive government assistance because of the loss of one or two breadwinners, and more than 20,000 children live in residential institutions even though more than 70 per cent of these have at least one parent.

For additional information, pelase refer to Olga Grebennikova, UNICEF Media Liaison Officer at .