• Helena_barnavend_112Vefur

The 112 Day: Children more aware and open about violence

11. Feb 2021

Emphasises on the safety and well-being of children on the 112 day

The 112 Day is today, February 11th. This time the focus is on child protection and the safety and well-being of children and young people. The Emergency Line's website contains a lot of information , both for children and adults . Parents and other guardians are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the subject and discuss with their children the importance of knowing the emergency number 112 . At the same time, the emphasis is on raising awareness about violence in close relationships .

The newspaper Hafnfirðingur discussed these sensitive but important issues with Helena Unnarsdóttir, head of the child protection services department at Hafnarfjarðarbær.

Early support based on the Bridge /Brúin Child consultancy.  

News coverage have reported that during covid-19 pandemic, child protection reports because of domestic violence and violence against children have increased. In the year 2020, the number of reports to Hafnarfjörður's child protection services increased only slightly, and Helena wants to say that a change in procedures with the introduction of the Bridge is crucial, but at the same time an increased awareness. It is also thanks to "Brúin" procedures that many cases in child protection are closed after an examination, as early support can be offered on the basis of "Brúin". With "Brúin", support for children of preschool and primary school age and their families has been strengthened and increased services provided at earlier stages. Thus, a certain process is initiated if there are changes in the well-being or behaviour of children, and this in direct collaboration between parents, teachers and other professionals.

More information about The Bridge / Brúin here

 Child protection services worker at a puppet show

Every year a puppet show pays visits to all 2nd grades of primary school with the puppet theatre "Kids in the Neighbourhood" in collaboration with the Child Welfare Agency. It is a play and education about sexual, physical and emotional abuse in line with the children's age and understanding.

Notification to the Child Protection Services on Hafnarfjarðarbær's website

Children are also pointed to the website of Hafnarfjarðarbær, where e.g. You can click on the link I AM A CHILD AND I AM CONCERNED  and thus announce and fill in the birthday, phone number and grade. "There you can also write a short text about what the concerned are about. Also if they know of violence elsewhere than in their home. Of course, adults can also submit a notice, where anonymity and the forms are also Polish and English. We can allow ourselves to be curious about children and their well-being," says Helena. A notification to child protection services is not a complaint, but rather a request for assistance for the child or family in question, which the notifier considers to be in need of assistance. Helena says that it is being examined whether an notification button will be placed on tablets of students in the 5th - 10th grades of primary schools, as has been done in the neighbouring municipality of Kópavogur.

112 web chat and Home Peace / "Heimilisfriður"

The vast majority know the emergency number 112, but Helena says that fewer people know that it is possible to contact via web chat on the website . "Some people may find it difficult, a big step or a difficult situation to call and then you can use online chat. Then there is a service called "Heimilisfriður" / Home Peace. It is a treatment and knowledge centre for intimate partner violence. There is e.g. offer individual interviews and group therapy. "

The web chat is available in Icelandic , English and Polish

There is also a special domestic violence team at Hafnarfjarðarbær that offers victims and perpetrators resources and assistance. It is important to have as many ways for notification as possible, well-being of children and to provide appropriate assistance as soon as possible if necessary.

The interview was published in the newspaper Hafnfirðingur 11. February 2021.