In the heart of Romania, a collaborative initiative called JUSTinACT is making strides to combat the alarming rise of child sexual abuse and online violence against minors. Funded by the Active Citizens Fund, the project brings together World Vision Romania Foundation, ECPAT Norway, and various other partners to address the pressing issue and promote awareness of children’s rights in the digital age.
Creating guides for parents, teachers, children, and journalists
In response to a 2022 survey by World Vision Romania, JUSTinACT addresses a critical knowledge gap: 42% of adults wouldn’t know how to respond to child abuse. The project developed concise guides for parents, teachers, children, and journalists, providing insights into the backround of the problem, symptom recognition, reporting methods, and legal advice.
FACT BOX: JUSTinACT
- Justice, social action and consolidating civil society’s capacity to combat sexual abuse against children
- Partners: World Vision Romania Foundation and Ecpat Norway
- Grant awarded: €149,850
- Project period: March 2022 – July 2023
In creating these guides, World Vision Romania Foundation collaborated with Romanian VedemJust and Ecpat Norway, renowned for legal advice and combatting child sexual abuse. Ecpat Norway’s invaluable perspectives have significantly influenced the project’s approach.
At one of the schools that were visited, the Manea Daniela School, the school Director recalls the important lessons given by the JUSTinACT project.
The teachers learned how to set rules for technology use, monitor children’s online activity, notify law enforcement agencies and much more.
During the dissemination of the “JUSTinACT” project, we received information and tools necessary to ensure that both students and our own children use digital technology safely and in a healthy way.Director of the Manea Daniela School
Georgina, one of the children that participated in the school workshops, recalls the lessons from the JUSTinACT project, where they learned about internet risks and safe surfing online.
If we think something is suspicious, something abnormal, we could contact the police at 112, or the Children’s Telephone at 119, where they will answer us at any time.Georgina, child participant
Study trips to Norway
Two 3-day study trips to Norway facilitated essential exchanges of ideas, experiences, and best practices to both organisations. Romanian stakeholders received invaluable insights into ethical journalism, advocacy models, the Barnahus system, communication methods, and child victim protection. Representatives from Ecpat also visited World Vision Foundation in Romania.
From Ecpat Norway, Julie Crutchley states that JUSTinACT held monthly online workshops with around one hundred participants. The webinars covered examples of best practice from Norway and how this can be adapted and developed to the Romanian society.
We believe that the project was very positive and will be sustainable in a number of areas. Some of the aspects include the centres set up in Romania by the project.Julie Crutchley, Senior Adviser and Researcher, Ecpat Norway
Julie is certain that the centres set up in Romania and the guides that were created, will be used by other target groups after the project has ended.
A year of accomplishments
This project’s remarkable achievements in the past year include the establishment of a permanent government group, licensing two additional World Vision centers, and impactful press releases contributing to a commendable change in the legal age defining rape. The project’s proactive engagement with journalists, specialized courses for experts, and community building underscore its impact on various levels of civil society.
Securing a Safer future for children
JUSTinACT stands as a shining example of collective action, demonstrating the power of civil society-led initiatives. Reflecting not only dedication but also the influence of bilateral partnerships, JUSTinACT is creating lasting change and paving the way for a safer, more secure future for children in Romania.
As JUSTinACT expands its reach, it promises to make an enduring impact in the fight against child abuse.
View World Vision Romania Foundation’s website here.
View Ecpat Norway’s website here.
Read the children’s guide to abuse here (in Romanian).
Written by Lara Emilie Jonsson, firstname.lastname@example.org