Parliamentary Committee on the Family, Youth, and Sports: Much greater funds needed for the prevention of peer violence

Zagreb - The parliamentary Committee on the Family, Youth and Sports said on Wednesday, on National Anti-Bullying Day, that there is growing peer violence on social networks, underscoring that this year the competent ministry has allocated much greater funds for the prevention of peer violence.

- Peer violence is above political stances and divisions. The Ministry of Science and Education, too, has recognised that problem and this year it has allocated much greater funds for the prevention of peer violence. Only with prevention and education can we do something and we must not close our eyes to the problem but deal with it, Committee chair Vesna Vučemilović of the Homeland Movement told a press conference.

- This is the fifth time National Anti-Bullying Day is being marked, she said and added that in 2019 there were 1,743 cases of peer violence reported. The most common form is physical and verbal violence or a combination of both and there is an increased incidence of violence via text messages or on social networks, she said.

A total of 1,025 measures were taken in those cases, mostly in the form of counselling or helping families, she said and added that a large portion of parents are insufficiently computer literate and are not aware of their children's activities on social networks.

Vesna Bedeković of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that last year the ministry financed 59 prevention programmes in schools, for which HRK 460,000 was allocated, while this year the ministry plans to allocate HRK 2.7 million for peer violence prevention. That money will be used for school programmes and crisis intervention teams. The ministry has also issued grants for NGOs in education for 11 projects valued at HRK 810,000.


A new case of peer violence in Vukovar 

Dragana Jeckov of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) said that she was shocked to hear that on National Anti-Bullying Day in fact a grave incident involving peer violence had again occurred in Vukovar. Three youths have been admitted to the hospital with injuries caused by telescopic batons and tear gas.

Cases of peer violence are occurring in Vukovar virtually on a daily basis and despite efforts by police and schools to prevent this, they are not succeeding. Something evidently needs to be done in Vukovar to prevent peer violence more efficiently, she said.

Jeckov added that she deliberately did not want to speak about who attacked whom. The attackers and victims were all minors and all this occurred during recess at the technical school, she said.

- Perhaps today is the right day to say that serious incidents are occurring in Vukovar and that they are being kept silent about and described as inter-ethnic conflicts or conflicts between football fans. But this is a classic example of violence that needs to be stopped regardless of the ethnicity of those involved because we have head injuries and concerned parents who are wondering whether to send their children to school or not, she warned.

Author: Hina