Childhood and adolescence, the 5 emergencies in the Career Report

“I took up my duties in January 2021, in the midst of a pandemic, while the very idea of ​​the future was clouded, especially for boys. Today we present this report in which we take stock of critical issues, but we also highlight the resources and the positive aspects: such as the intelligence that children have shown to reshape their lives and defend their rights. ” Garlatti, National Guarantor of Children and Adolescents, to the Social Writer at the end of the presentation of the Report to Parliament 2021. It is therefore inevitable, as a balance, a summary of the negative effects of the pandemic and the crisis in childhood and adolescence, but I would also like to offer a reading of hope: children have understood that some rights were taken for granted.I am not and I have rediscovered the little things like being with my parents, going to school ‘school, go out with friends’.

Mental health

The first emergency, according to Garlatti, is mental health: “The pandemic has increased the criticality of those who already suffer from it and has created new criticalities in those who did not suffer before. So are self-harm, suicidal tendencies, social abstinence, and the use of psychoactive substances. Among the recommendations that the Guarantor Authority has addressed to the institutions to deal with this emergency, there is, first of all, the need to plan, prevention and treatment actions to overcome regional and local fragmentation. They must then be provided with adequate resources for the services, give specific answers according to age, guarantee a number of beds in the departments dedicated to minors and establish school psychology services, in order to activate a link between the school. and the territory. It is equally important to make a cultural change by intervening in the role of education and in the promotion of intergenerational dialogue: adults have a duty to welcome, support and contain the suffering of minors.

Deviation and discomfort

Another emergency is youth unrest, which often “translates into deviation and, therefore, an increase in certain crimes, such as domestic violence of children against mothers,” says Garlatti, “but I think of the fights told by the It is time to find the answers, under multiple levels, for example by facilitating access to the media. to restorative justice, which represents a moment of listening, in which the victim can express his suffering and involve the perpetrator, who in turn realizes what he has done., in a process of transformation that makes him responsible In this sense, Garlatti continued, we have done a qualitative study on the effects of restorative justice and we hope to disseminate the results, also in terms of the prevention of recidivism. the Guarantor Authority, the improvement of restorative justice represents one of the most significant aspects of the Cartabian reform. In this regard, the Authority has recently made a number of proposals to the Working Group responsible for drafting legislative decrees. In particular, he suggested that the minor be able to decide independently, even without parental consent, whether or not to participate in restorative justice. It also proposed greater involvement of families in the pathways and dissemination, as well as criminal-victim mediation, other programs (e.g., family group circles and conferences), and expanded access to offenders with under 14 years. Participation in these voluntary membership courses can have an educational value, it being understood that age and the ability to discern must be assessed on a case-by-case basis ”. In general, the decrease, in some cases, in the age of the aggressors (reported increasing among children under 14 in the districts of Bologna and Catania), the increase in the number of cases of child abuse by relatives (Bologna , Brescia and Florence) and the rise, in many areas of Italy, of events characterized by the cruelty and lack of perception of the seriousness of what was committed and the suffering of the victims. In Palermo, crimes against sexual freedom have grown by more than 50% and have mainly affected girls under the age of 14, filmed with smartphones. In general, throughout the Iberian Peninsula, there is an misuse of digital technology by minors, which borders on violations of the law.

International crises

International crises linked to the various conflicts in the world, to climate and social change have already begun to be felt. Unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy have more than doubled compared to before the pandemic began. They were 6,054 as of December 31, 2019, at the end of last April 14,025 were registered by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies. The country of origin of the largest group has also changed: it is no longer Bangladesh or Egypt that lead the ranking, but Ukraine with about 5,000 minors, half between 7 and 14 years old. This is the effect of the ongoing conflict, that is, one of the 59 wars in the world that contribute to fueling migratory flows. Emigrations that are growing even more due to the food emergency in the poorest areas of Africa and Asia, generated by the climate crisis and the possible blockage of grain in Ukrainian ports. Italy has equipped itself with a system of reception of children and young people who arrive in our country without reference adults, a system that needs to be strengthened in view of the increase in migratory flows. More volunteer guardians will be needed: reference adults, who, made up of regional guarantors and appointed by juvenile courts, are responsible for accompanying solitary minors on the path of growth and inclusion in our society. Already today there are areas of Italy that need it: from Lombardy, which is looking for 500 tutors, to Sicily, which suffers from a historical difficulty in the territorial distribution of volunteers. The latest survey by the Guarantor Authority – which, according to Law 47 of 2017, has monitoring tasks – put the number at 3,469 at 31 December 2020.

More generally, it will be necessary to reinvest in the Italian voluntary protection system, as Agia has already done with the European funds of the Fami, and to increase the resources for the reception in favor of the municipalities. In this sense, the Guarantor Authority is carrying out a series of visits to the municipal structures of the Sai (Integration Reception System) to listen directly to the needs of children and detect the needs of local authorities.

Poverty and early school leaving

According to preliminary estimates published by the State in March1, the total number of children in absolute poverty in 2021 was 1 million and 384 thousand: the incidence is confirmed high (14.2%), stable compared to 2020 but almost three points higher. with respect to 2019 (11.4%). The presence of minor children continues to be a factor that most exposes families to hardship: the incidence of absolute poverty remains high (11.5%) precisely in those who have at least one minor child. In the case of couples with three or more children, it rises to 20%. The situation, already critical in the wake of the pandemic, is likely to worsen further due to the consequences of the international economic crisis and the difficulties of those already living in a state of vulnerability or disadvantage are likely to increase. These circumstances not only affect the present but can mortgage the future of children and young people, helping to keep the social elevator stationary. Therefore, on the one hand, it is necessary to monitor the income support measures provided for in the Family Law and, on the other hand, it is necessary to act urgently, implementing the Childhood Plan and the Child Guarantee, in the matter. of educational poverty and to combat early school leaving. As for the latter, there are alarming signs: encouraging school success, we work for social justice, as long as it is within a framework of systemic interventions.

With regard to early school leaving, the Guarantor Authority has made seven recommendations to institutions, companies, social agents, professional associations and the third sector. These include finally establishing “priority education areas” in areas of Italy with the highest risk of social exclusion. In addition, resources must be concentrated so that schools and services that care for children in vulnerable conditions are excellent and fragile families must be offered tailor-made interventions by multidisciplinary teams. according to a unitary approach. The full participation of parents in the children’s school experience and co-constructed and personalized co-responsibility educational pacts should also be promoted, as well as the parents’ room in each center and ad hoc intervention projects for each family. in difficulty. There is a need to renew teaching and teaching styles, increase full-time schools, and promote informal learning and aggregation environments. Finally, it is necessary to invest in the integrated system of educational and socio-educational services 0-6 and to establish a school psychology service within the public system.

The digital environment

“The digital environment, which already played an important role for children as an opportunity for play, education, expression and participation, has become increasingly present in the lives of children and young people. This also carries risks for your rights, which have required special attention from the Guarantor Authority. – Garlatti reports – In this context, the Guarantor Authority participated in the activities of a table in the Ministry of Justice with Agcom and the Guarantor of personal data protection to define a series of proposals. “The first refers to the urgency prevent young children from using online and social services that are not appropriate for their age, and the definition of an age verification mechanism based on the SPID model is important. children by parents (the so-called sharenting), it was then proposed to give the possibility to children under the age of 14 to independently request the removal of photographs.It was also suggested to apply the rules on child labor to contain Finally, according to the Authority, it is essential to carry out awareness-raising campaigns that, in order to be effective, must be carried out with the participation of minors.

With regard to regulatory interventions, in application of the recent decree implementing the European Audiovisual Directive, the AGIA will be asked to comment on the guidelines that Agcom will develop to co-regulate the sharing of videos generated with suppliers by users. . In addition, Enoc, the European network of guarantors for children of which the Authority is a part, has urged the EU Parliament to suspend a provision in the ePrivacy Directive (adopted on 14/07/2021) that allows online restore controls. messaging systems to counter the request and exchange of child pornography materials. This is a sensitive issue, also with regard to the confidentiality of personal data, on which the Commission has recently presented a proposal for a regulation aimed at balancing the rights at stake and, above all, ensuring that controls become mandatory. and no longer based on the “goodwill” of suppliers.

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