Addressing Child Abuse
Although it is widely acknowledged that thousands of children suffer from physical and psychological abuse in the Russian Federation each year, most cases go unreported. In those cases that are identified by the authorities, assistance available to victims is insufficient and often limited to basic medical care. Even worse, the gaps in current child protection regulations contribute to the medical, legal and social service systems’ inability to respond effectively to abuse.
In 2008, HealthRight and its Russian implementing partner, Doctors to Children (DTC), established a partnership with the Frunzensky District Department for Social Protection and Children’s Hospital #5 in St. Petersburg, Russia to provide urgently needed mental health and social services to children affected by child abuse and their family members. This collaborative effort created a service to identify and respond to abuse in the setting where physical abuse is most likely to be detected. Specially-trained social workers and psychologists provide care to child abuse patients within HealthRight and DTC’s psychosocial rehabilitation unit in the hospital.
In 2010, HealthRight and DTC developed and published a reference book for professionals in St. Petersburg on detection of child abuse, psychosocial assistance to child victims and their family members, cross-agency referral and Russian law protecting victims of child abuse. Using this reference, HealthRight/DTC trains professionals from across St. Petersburg to provide assistance to victims of child abuse and their families.
HealthRight and DTC serve approximately XX children per month in the psychosocial rehabilitation unit, and work with law enforcement agencies in the process of child abuse investigation, litigation and prosecution. Through targeted advocacy and an internet service for child victims of abuse, HealthRight and DTC are raising public awareness about abuse, encouraging survivors to seek support, and advocating for increased commitment from decision makers.