Invisible children

Invisible children

The Fund of Support for Children in Difficult Situations presented its second report on acute problems in the sphere. The first report of the Fund was made in 2010, and since that time priorities of the organization have changed: it takes care of children from a “risk group”, i.e. orphans, disabled children and juveniles.

The chairman of the Fund, Marina Gordeeva, noted that annually the Fund analyzes special aspects of the whole theme of “trouble-making children.” In recent times children's issues are discussed widely in society. However, considering federal targets on modernization of the social service sphere, it is important to define priorities in this infinite question and make effective decisions. This year the Fund considers three main problems.

First is abuse of children. This theme is widely discussed in social and political circles. It is socially important. But despite the wide discussion, this problem hasn’t been solved yet. Annually more than 100 000 children become victims of various crimes. In 2010 1700 children died, 2400 children inflicted heavy injury on health, 9500 minors became victims of raping. Growth of number of domestic crimes is alarming too. Thus, the theme is not settled. Despite the fact that “abuse of children” is classified as a special attention zone and has the status of a separate social problem, in reality this problem is intercrossing other negative social phenomena and is analyzed in various contexts. The problem is connected with lack of education, specificity of a family life, traditions and accidents. The majority of abuses of children stays in secret and often is not judged by a local community. Even though the theme is widely discussed, number of abuses hasn’t reduced. However, wide discussion means that the society is ready to react and make decisions. But the society is not always ready to discuss the theme; probably at the domestic level greater attention is paid to the issue.

The second is the problem of changing the society’s attitude to disabled children, accepting them as equal citizens. In this case emergency help and early intervention are acute, as early intervention is not only the earliest detecting of abnormality and medical help to a child, but also social support of the family and help in development of a child. This issue has another aspect: along with support, which is provided by early intervention services, organization of such support helps to reduce number of refusals from disabled children.

The third problem is the theme of juveniles. Statistics show that the number of juveniles reduces annually. In 2010 there were 78,000 cases, while in 2005 there were 150,000. Thus, it reduced twice. However, growth of repeated crimes is alarming. It is explained by the common practice of imprisonment of minors, despite the fact that positive effect from such punishment is doubted by society and professionals. Considering it, recent initiatives by the State Duma on reducing age of criminal responsibility to 12 years are alarming too.

Singer Diana Gurtskaya, a member of the Public Chamber of Russia, said that help to disabled children is very important to her: “I was raised in a residential school for blind children. It was a great mental pressure for a 17 year-old child. I had to leave my home for getting education. I suffered a lot in the residential school. Many children, who have no family support break down. I had the support. That is why I think it does not help to take disabled children away from their parents.