Child centre for advocacy and support – Protection Zone

Child centre for advocacy and support – Protection Zone

The Social Activities and Practices Institute is developing the innovative service “A Child Centre for Advocacy and Support – Protection Zone” in the municipalities of Montana and Shoumen within a project implemented in partnership with the two municipalities and UNICEF – Bulgaria. The project provides a unique opportunity for introducing an integrated approach to children victims of abuse, and it builds upon the long-term experience of the Institute in working with children victims of crimes, and in introducing the European standards for child-friendly justice.

The main goals of the Centre are to provide services for children participating in legal procedures, and children who have experienced abuse or have witnessed crimes, which would improve their well-being, and guarantee support services and rehabilitation for the affected children. It would also lead to the introduction of legal procedures adapted for children.

The expected results of the project are:

  • developed methodology for an innovative service, based on an integrated approach and on legal procedures adapted for children;
  • two centres for care and support “Ptotection Zone” in the municipalities of Montana and Shoumen that provide services to children and families on a regional level;
  • improved coordination and collaboration between the various structures and institutions on a local level;
  • development of the capacity of the professionals from the child protection system, police, prosecutor's office, court, and medical institutions on a local level for guaranteeing the best interest of the children victims or witnesses of crimes.


About the service:

The Child Centre for Advocacy and Support assists children victims of abuse and their families by providing them with security and impartiality. In the Centre a specialized approach is introduced, and the services provided to the children combine good legislative, medical, psychological, therapeutic, and social services with child-friendly procedures and environment.

The “Protection Zone” works with all forms and cases of violence against children and their families, by covering both children victims of abuse that has been committed in the past, as well as cases of current ongoing abuse. The Centre also works with children who are witnesses of domestic violence, and supports the parent victim of abuse in the process of ceasing the violence and starting rehabilitation, so that this person could become a useful parent again. “Protection Zone” also offers legal assistance to the parent victim in order to provide the child with environment that is free of violence.

The Centre offers protected and comfortable accommodation for meetings with professionals that provide support, which decreases the feelings of fear and anxiety in the child, and makes more efficient the child's participation in the process of planning, and in the follow-up work on recovering from the trauma.

The Centre provides constant support and care for the children and their families during the whole process – from the beginning of the work on a case and the investigation, until the end of the court trial, and the recovery of the child victim and the family.

“Protection Zone” started in Montana in October 2015 as the first of three centres that open their doors in the country. As a social service it is provided by the Social Activities and Practices Institute in the municipalities of Montana and Shoumen, and Foundation “Association Animus” in Sofia. The piloting of the service is implemented in partnership with UNICEF, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Social Support Agency, the municipal administrations of Montana, Sofia Municipality, and Shoumen, the Social Activities and Practices Institute and Foundation “Association Animus”. The funding of the activities is provided by the donation funds of UNICEF and bTV.

Currently in the CSSCF-Shoumen repairing works are being carried out in order to set up a space for the Child Centre for Care and Support, and the opening of the Centre is expected in the beginning of 2016.