Bulgaria: Care for victims of violence and psychological support for children and troubled teens


An article by Diana Tashkova

At the present time, many children and their families are victims of violence, or being sexually abused in the family. In fact, European Union citizens in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria are the most frequent victims of human trafficking in Europe. In addition, the majority of cases that were studied between 2009 and 2013 by Europol shows that 40 percent of victims of human trafficking in Europe came from Romania, 18 percent from Hungary and 11 percent from Bulgaria. The majority of victims of human trafficking are women and girls, and a high proportion of them are sexually exploited. Human trafficking is truly a global epidemic.

Logo of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme

In addition, some children have had bad experiences in their families, in schools and in their communities. Therefore, the project “Trauma Center for Children and Families” was launched with financing from the Swiss-Bulgarian Cooperation Programme. It is implemented by the Foundation Animus Association. Its purpose is to provide a psychological support and recovery after traumatic situations. The Families Centre also includes a correspondence program. It provides an opportunity for children and parents to get consultations via email and remain anonymous.

The project aims to complete the model of the existing social system in Bulgaria by introducing an innovative social program. It offers a support program for children and parents, as well as a community support program.

The child support program is also beneficial for children with communication problems or difficulty adjusting to their social environment, such as those who want to overcome the loss of a parent, parental separation, domestic violence or sexual violence. They may be troubled from having been adopted, placed in foster families or reintegrated into their biological families which they express as problem behavior at home or school.

The support program is for parents who need advice on problems they have in raising their children. In addition, the community support program offers training; it uses multidisciplinary approaches that offer help. The Trauma Centre offers support to prospective adoptive parents and children. It provides opportunities for youth and adults to overcome difficulties without carrying the baggage of the past.

(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

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