Roundtable on Child Protection and Safeguarding by Terre des hommes Hellas

REEC Roundtable

A roundtable meeting entitled "Child Protection and Child Safeguarding in Preschool and Primary Education" was successfully organized today by Terre des hommes Hellas, within the framework of the organization's "Reinforce Educators, Empower Children" (REEC) program.

The discussion, which took place at the Liaison Office of the European Parliament in Athens, was attended among others, by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, for Social Solidarity and Combating Poverty, Mr. Stamatis; the Deputy Ombudsperson for Children's Rights, Ms. Koufonikolakou, senior staff of the Ministry of Education, staff from the nurseries of the Municipality of Athens, EKKA, and civil society organizations. It was moderated by ms Hadjinikolaou, Child Protection Specialist.

At the meeting, a greeting by the General Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Koptsis was also read.

The role of teachers of all levels which is considered critical both in the prevention, as well as in the detection and management of incidents of child abuse was placed at the center of the discussion. Kindergarteners, babysitters, teachers, and professors are the only professionals who live with children for several hours a day for at least 9 months a year. But how ready are they to play this role?

They themselves tell us that they often do not know the "signs" of child abuse or neglect. They cannot "read" the symptoms. Many ignore their very obligation to report concerns or information they have about incidents of abuse. Others tell us that they are concerned about the breakdown of relationships with the children's families or even with other school community members. A deterrent factor can still be the fear of being exposed to lengthy court proceedings. We are also told that trusting relationships within the school are not sufficiently encouraged. Or even that children do not always recognize the violation, they take it as something "normal", so they do not even share it with the teacher they trust.

During the meeting, the head of Terre des hommes, Leda Avgusti, shared the encouraging and touching comments the organization has received about the training it carries out as part of the program "Reinforce Educators, Empower Children (REEC)" which is developed in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and the Municipality of Milan (Comune di Milano) under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens. It is a transnational program aimed at protecting children from abuse by strengthening the capacity of pre-school and primary school teachers, as well as child protection professionals, to be able to detect and respond appropriately to cases of children experiencing or at risk of experiencing abuse and, in general, adverse experiences in their childhood.

The program is co-financed by the EU, Rights, Equality, and Citizenship program.

Learn more about the REEC program by clicking here