The Three-Year Action Plan to prevent sexual abuse and child exploitation
In October 2021, the Council of Ministers approved the Three-Year Action Plan (2021-2023), following a proposal submitted by the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare. The Plan aims at preventing sexual abuse and exploitation of children and is part of the National Strategy for Combating Sexual Abuse and Child Exploitation and Child Pornography.
Through the Action Plan, the Ministry of Social Welfare seeks, by developing actions and initiatives, to train and increase the knowledge and skills of the children themselves and their families, and also of the competent professionals and society at large. The aim is to develop mechanisms that will protect children from sexual abuse, and also to identify in time the signs of abuse and the increased risk factors.
The Action Plan is based on the pillar of primary prevention, aiming at tackling the problem by raising the awareness of the entire population and, consequently, the gradual reduction of incidents. It is also based on the pillar of secondary prevention, aiming at immediate dealing with related problems in the early stages.
The Action Plan includes three other pillars related to tertiary prevention, research and development of tools for recording incidents, as well as the evaluation of programs and actions with qualitative and quantitative criteria.
The responsibility for providing guidance in the curriculum in public schools rests primarily with the teacher and, in the case of secondary schools, with the school counselors. Depending on the nature of the problem, they may choose to involve the headteacher who may deem to involve the school inspector or the psychologists of the Ministry as well.
In the case of pupils with behaviour problems that are difficult to be managed by the school, the headteacher informs the inspector responsible for the school and, in turn, the psychologists of the Ministry.
At the primary level of education, there is no provision of vocational / career guidance for pupils. At the secondary level, career guidance and counseling are offered regularly to pupils by the Guidance and Counselling Service of the Ministry. In addition, in the last year of the gymnasium, (see Chapter 6) pupils are offered career and vocational guidance (0.5 per week) as part of their curriculum. The aim is to help pupils choose the field or combination of studies they wish to follow in the upper division.