In recent years, Armenia has witnessed an increase in reports of child abuse. To shed light on this problem, “Family and Community” NGO director Knarik Garanfilyan met with a group of journalists in Yerevan last month. She and partners from the “Children’s Protection Network” reported on the disturbing rate of violence against minors, the reasons for its growing occurrence, and the importance of covering such cases in the media to raise public awareness.
Photo (from left to right): Knarik Garanfilyan, “Family and Community” NGOS’s Director, Artur Vardanyan, deputy head of the Department for the Protection of Minors’ Rights and Fight Against Domestic Violence at the Armenian Police, Mira Antonyan, the chairperson of the Children’s Support Center of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR),Syuzan Badeyan, the manager of the family strengthening program of the SOS Children’s Villages charity fund.
Knarik suggested improvements in the work of state agencies designed to protect children – stressing the need for more professionals in the field, as well as necessary funding for these agencies. “We must understand that to decrease the violence, we must not simply support the victims, but also work with and punish the abusers,” – she added. Knarik also explained the need for legislation and mechanisms to establish a rehabilitation period for violent families. During that period social workers would provide parents with counseling and work to improve their parental skills. At the same time, abusive families would be monitored and if child abuse persists then the state could either limit parental rights or deprive parents of child custody.
“Family and Community” NGO is a program of the Tufenkian Foundation in Medzamor city.