In Greece, there is a lack of any systemic approach and structures for psychosocial and emotional support to parents and guardians of children who are in conflict with the law. Through Just-Us, Terre des hommes Hellas addresses this gap, by empowering parents and helping them create a supportive community.
Through the implementation of European projects for a child-friendly justice system in Greece, Tdh Hellas has witnessed that parents and legal guardians are often overwhelmed by their child’s involvement in the justice system. They are not able to process and handle the stress, and the pending trial feels like an insurmountable obstacle or a court-imposed measure. Parents struggle to take responsibility, they fear for the outcome of the case and its impact on their child’s future, or they experience humiliation because of their child’s actions. All this can result in indifference and anger towards the child, overprotectiveness or even ostracizing and involuntarily punishing the child.
Furthermore, parents are not always familiar with the penal procedures, and they are often not explained thoroughly to them. According to relevant research conducted by Tdh Hellas, the social stigma that surrounds the involvement with the penal justice system prevents parents from requesting support from their own family environment or as part of official state support intervention offered. This stigmatisation felt by parents and by children is not addressed and it further impacts the alienation of this group and furthermore, the reintegration of children in conflict with the law. This is what Tdh Hellas aims to address with this intervention.
The intervention by Terre des hommes Hellas
A. Empowerment groups: aiming to enhance parents and caregivers’ ability and capability to protect children by strengthening parenting skills and improve the parent-child relationship, ensuring parents’ overall wellbeing, especially during times of stress or crisis. Parents/caregivers of young offenders in group settings, will be able to discuss and gain information on issues that affect them and their children. These sessions will help them to develop resilience and the ability to better handle challenging and stressful circumstances, strengthening at the same time their involvement in their children’s progress.
B. Assisting community support and advocacy: Professionals assist in the formation and initiation of the groups, but remain on tap, not on top. Parents’/ Caregivers’ capacity and knowledge are being built with the purpose of developing sustainable self-organized groups, eventually leading to a strong and supportive community of parents/guardians of children in contact with the law. This will empower them to take ownership and leading in the process, ensuring sustainability in the intervention through peer and mutual support approaches, increasing protective factors and reducing risks within the family system, motivating also other parents who may share the same difficulties.
Tdh Hellas views this intervention as an integral part of its holistic approach to system strengthening which involves direct empowerment of beneficiaries, changing systems through capacity building and growing public awareness.
The duration of the Just-Us project is 11 months, from January to November 2023, with a grant from Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
For more information on the project, you can contact ms Panagiota Kanellopoulou at email@example.com.
Το έργο Just-Us διαρκεί από τον Ιανουάριο έως τον Νοέμβριο του 2023 και υλοποιείται με δωρεά από το Ίδρυμα Σταύρος Νιάρχος (ΙΣΝ).