Center Against Abuse "Dardedze"
|Center Against Abuse Dardedze|
is a non-governmental organization providing holistic assistance to children who have suffered from abuse, and to their families. Center's philosophy is characterized by multi-disciplinary approach and teamwork. The team of the center consists of professional social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrist, nurse, lawyer, care workers, pedagogue, vocational therapist an dart therapist who work together in a very structured and purpose oriented manner. In order to reach the best outcome in each single and unique case, professionals try to involve in the intervention plan all the members of the family, including abuser, if possible at all.
Children who have suffered from abuse(physical, sexual, emotional) and who have been sexually exploited or trafficked can receive assistance at our center in 2 forms - in-patient or outpatient. The goal of both - outpatient and inpatient treatment is to provide social rehabilitation services for abused children and their families. Each and every case is individual and unique, therefore social worker, who becomes a case manager at the first stage of intervention assess the problem and decides which professionals need to be involved in the further rehabilitation process. In order to provide well-coordinated and integrated services every week there is a multi-disciplinary team meeting held at our center, where clear goals and tasks of intervention are being set and achieved results and outcomes are being evaluated. In cases of very severe abuse, which has resulted in a serious crises, and if a child's life and health is threatened, Center Against Abuse "Dardedze" provides intensive inpatient treatment. There is room for 24 children on a constant bases at the support house of our center. In case of a need a supporting parent can stay with a child.
FORENSIC INTERVIEW ROOM
There is a modern forensic interview room at the Center Against Abuse "Dardedze" where child's interview or testimony is being audio and video taped, which allows a smaller number of child questioning and interviewing. There is a video camera at one of the Riga court houses which together with the technical equipment at "Dardedze" permits for child's testimony being directly translated to the court room, therefore child does not have to participate directly in the court proceedings which can sometimes be very emotionally damaging for a child.
Professionals of "Dardedze" use forensic interview room for various reasons:
Team work. One of the professionals meets with the child victim and receives information about the fact of abuse. The rest of involved professionals stay behind the one-way mirror and observes the interview, which allows them to gain the needed information and facts that they need in order to work effectively, without questioning them repeatedly.
To observe relationship and interactions among parents and children. Usually when parents meet with children at the Center it is often possible to observe their real relationship, interactions that reveal the causes of abuse, the effects that it has left on a child; it also permits to train parents in adequate parenting and disciplining skills. This is a very efficient evaluation tool when a decision has to be made whether child can return back home or parental skills need to be improved before it is allowed.
To investigate a child abuse case. According to the Law of the Right of A Child in the forensic interview room there has to be investigation officer, victim and a psychologist or pedagogue. The rest of involved professionals can observe the process behind the one-way mirror and intervene with the psychologists when needed though the headphone. The process can also be recorded in the video.
To document illegal actions against minor. If during the process of rehabilitation child reveals significant information about the abuse to the therapist, it can be recorded immediately in the video and audio, which can then be passed over to police or custody/family court.
Consultation for potential guardians
During the two years of our work we have closely cooperated and collaborated with many child protection institutions, including Riga custody court - institution that is responsible for selecting child guardians and potential adopters. We have found that in order to promote alternative ways of care and to decrease a number of those cases when adoption or guardianship is removed or canceled, there is a need for numerous consultations with therapist to make a decision weather a persona is appropriate for a role of adoptive parent or guardian. Riga City Council is funding this service, starting this year, - every potential guardian or adopter has 3 or 4 consultations when their motivation is assessed and potential to take a responsibility for a child; during these meetings they also receive support and information where to look for help and assistance in times of a need. In corporation with Riga Custody Court every year there is about 30 people who are provided with this service.
To make our rehabilitation services most effective professionals provide family therapy in those cases where there has been child abuse in family or there is a high risk of child abuse.
Information, training, supervision
It is important to provide adequate information and to promote societies understanding about child abuse. Child abuse leaves deep emotional, physical and social consequences in the life of a child. These are lasting consequences that are evident in the lives of those adults who have suffered from abuse during their childhood - low self esteem, complicated relationship with people around them that can lead to aggressive, destructive or very passive behaviour. These consequences of child abuse leave impact not only to the people who are close to a child, but also to people around them at school, work, and in their social life.
There is specific video and audio information and literature available in canter's library about topic of child abuse, trafficking, rehabilitation, etc.
Centre also serves as a resource and training centre for many professionals (teachers, police, prosecutors, social workers, psychologists, physicians, child protection workers, ect.) working in this field. There have been various training programmes developed, as well as many prevention projects carried out during last two years. ("Team on wheels"; "Involvement of local community in decreasing problem of child abuse"; "Volunteering programme" " establishment of local professional network in 4 regions of Latvia; ect.)
Support and educational groups for parents and children
This group material is designed for high-risk families to decrease the potential of child abuse in these families. These groups meet for 20 times and discuss issues related to the topic of " How to be a good parent in a stressful situation". During the parent's group time, children have their own group, where they learn important issues and learn new skills on how to recognize a dangerous situation, how to say "no", how to recognize "good" touch from a "bad" touch, where to look for help, how to improve self- esteem, ect.
Centre Against Abuse "Dardedze" organizes supervisions for professionals of 7 long-term child residential institutions (or orphanage homes) of Riga, where we fulfil function of education, support and administration. This service is focused on preventing child abuse in institutions.
You can read more about “Dardedze” on http://www.centrsdardedze.lv
The resource center about the problem on child abuse in Latvia is under: http://www.bernskacietusais.lv/