New protocol to protect safety, wellbeing of children in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district
Cansu Şimşek - ISTANBUL
A protocol signed between the municipality, district governorship, and chief prosecutor’s office of Istanbul’s Bakırköy district and a child rights foundation seeks to promote and support the safety and wellbeing of children in the district through cooperation.
The protocol was signed during a ceremony on Feb. 8, launched with an opening speech by Ebrize Çeltikçi, the head of the Child Rights Summit and Development Foundation (ÇHZD).
“We are aiming for a new governance model against all kinds of abuse, neglect and exploitation of children. By accelerating relations between institutions, we aim to protect children regarding both legal and security issues as well as to make the presence of the state felt,” Çeltikçi said.
Within the framework of the protocol, officials will visit schools across Bakırköy and conduct meetings with students and parents of all age groups. They will also conduct research on children who need particular protection, who are the victims of crime, or who are driven to crime themselves, within the scope of the Child Protection Law.
Çeltikçi noted that sexual abuse against children is mostly carried out by people around them.
“Some 46 percent of sexual abuse cases target children. And 42 percent of these cases involve children aged seven and under. This means we have to protect our children hand-in-hand, in cooperation, as soon as they are born,” he said.
Bakırköy Mayor Bülent Kerimoğlu later took the stage, saying the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, of which he is a member, is closely following their project.
“Next week, I will personally address the Council of Europe and talk about the point at which we stand [regarding the project]. Our biggest investment is children,” Kerimoğlu said on Feb. 8.
Bakırköy District Governor Nazmi Günlü also praised the “positive discrimination” behind the project.
“When the issue is about children, we are doing a positive discrimination in a protective way. We try to be extra sensitive regarding every issue regarding children,” Günlü said.
Günlü said the Bakırkköy District Governor’s Office is also doing “everything possible” to ensure the safety of school roads, school buildings and hygiene in service buses and school cafeteria.