Three Children Killed, Seven Committed Suicide in Croatia in 2021

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Pixabay License - Free for commercial use

“Apart from the parents, in certain cases responsibility for children’s deaths also lies with the institutions and society in general,” the ombudsman said.

She added that social services and the judiciary should be faster and more efficient in decision making concerning children.

In 2021, her office received 269 complaints about violence against or neglect of children, an increase of 30 per cent compared with 2020, and 448 children were subjected to such behaviour. It also received 76 complaints about violations of children’s rights as a result of domestic violence.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, 804 sexual crimes against children were reported last year, up from 573 in the previous year.

“Croatia has failed to achieve the sufficient level of protection of children against sexual violence,” the ombudsman said, expressing concern about the large number of such cases. She noted that the judiciary’s response to reports of sexual crimes against children were often inadequate.

“We are witnessing lengthy proceedings, lenient penalties for the perpetrators and failure to impose security measures,” Pirnat Dragičević warned.

Number of institutionalised children on the rise

The ombudsman also drew attention to the increasing number of institutionalised children.

Last year, 806 children without adequate parental care were placed in institutions, compared to 730 in the previous year. This is possibly due to fears among staff at the institutions following several cases in which children were seriously injured or killed in domestic violence.

Last year, 37 institutionalised children were adopted, and another 111 met the criteria for adoption.

The ombudsman said that the possibility of children in foster care being adopted by their foster families should be considered for the children’s wellbeing.


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