Following the serious injuring of a girl of two and a half, hospitalized in Zagreb and in critical condition, the ministry sent inspectors to the center. They established certain irregularities. Medunić is expected to be relieved of duty on Saturday.
Aladrović said on Friday the case would be analyzed “to the tiniest detail” to see if the system was “possibly responsible,” and he condemned any form of violence.
Brod-Posavina County police said on Friday night the girl’s parents were placed in custody after it was established that the child sustained several head and body injuries as a result of corporal punishment.
A criminal investigation established that the father (27) and mother (24) grossly neglected their duty to raise their child and that they abused her and grossly violated her rights by physically punishing her, police said.
The girl was brought to the Nova Gradiška hospital on Wednesday and then transferred to Zagreb’s children’s hospital.
The local social welfare center had known about the family from before because the father was reported for domestic violence. The girl was in a foster family for over a year, but the center returned her to the parents at their request.
Following the parents’ arrest, their three other children, aged several months to four, have been placed with a foster family.
Ombudsman for Children: We must not ignore violence
Ombudsman for Children Helenca Pirnat Dragičević said on Friday that violence must not be ignored and that anyone who knew or suspected child abuse or neglect had the duty to report it to the authorities.
Speaking on Croatian Television, she said her office was following this case and that it had requested reports from the police and the Nova Gradiška social welfare center.
She said it was important to investigate the case thoroughly and that in protecting children from violence, all systems needed to act in sync.
She wondered how such systematic abuse might have gone unnoticed, given that doctors confirmed the girl had been abused and the father reported for domestic violence.
In 2020, her office received 76 reports of domestic violence and 64 of child neglect. She said but noted that this was not an indicator of the problem’s real scope, only of certain difficulties in protecting children from violence.
According to Interior Ministry data, 1,849 crimes against child rights were reported in 2020, up 44% of the year, and about 10,000 reports were made of offenses under the law on domestic violence protection.
The ombudsman said the increase in domestic violence was worrying and that the complaints her office received were about the physical and mental abuse of children.
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