Bulgaria’s government announces proposals against domestic violence and other aggression

Bulgaria’s Cabinet is proposing more than 15 steps against violence and aggression, Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said on August 10, saying that there had been a wave of extremely serious cases of violence and that this had been a “hidden epidemic” in recent years.

Against a background of cases that have received widespread media coverage and caused public outrage, Bulgaria’s Parliament recently has twice amended, in rapid succession, the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act, on July 21 and again on August 8.

Denkov said that everything possible must be done to reduce the risk of violence.

Four ministries – of justice, of interior affairs, of labour and social policy and of education and science – will fight against aggression and violence, the briefing was told.

“We have identified more than 15 measures that require coordination between the relevant institutions,” Denkov said.

At educational institutions, aggression and violence have been seen, both in relation to children and in relation to teachers, Education Minister Galin Tsokov said.

Tsokov said that this year, a national programme to support the personal development of children and students was launched. One of the components will be funded activities to work with parents in schools to improve the positivity of the educational environment and deal with aggression.

The Education Ministry intends this year to introduce this national programme in relation to kindergartens as well.

Another step is to build teams for mediation of conflicts towards children with violence in the family. These teams will include educational specialists, psychologists, lawyers and others.

Tsokov said that measures are also needed regarding the development of children’s emotional intelligence. He said that two films related to the fight against violence had been made, involving students from the national acting school.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is proposing several short-term and urgent measures, the August 10 briefing was told.

These include a network of specialist services for adults and children who are victims of violence, available to all victims. It is necessary to have at least one such service in every region of Bulgaria. These services may include various prevention packages to support victims of domestic violence.

The ministry also proposes a national programme for the prevention of violence, which includes measures for expert support from psychologists to Interior Ministry employees when making first contact with victims of violence. The goal is to overcome the crisis in its initial stage.

The Labour and Social Policy Ministry believes that measures are needed to increase the expertise of the specialists from the Directorate of Social Assistance, Interior Ministry and social workers through additional training in order to provide adequate support to victims of violence.

The ministry proposes the setting up of six highly specialised expert teams in the six economic regions of the country to work in coordination so that the measures can be implemented more quickly and their effectiveness can be increased.

Deputy Interior Minister Ivelina Dundakova said that for 15 years the ministry had been actively involved in preventing domestic violence.

A National Council for the Prevention and Protection of Domestic Violence had been set up, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Maria Gabriel, with Justice Minister Atanas Slavov as deputy head.

The creation of a National Information System, which will collect data on all cases of domestic violence, is foreseen, the briefing was told.

(Photo: Fabrizio Turco/freeimages.com)

Please support The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism by becoming a subscriber to our page on Patreon:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292