Child victims and witnesses of crimes in Haskovo and Smolyan will be heard outside the courtroom and the police station in specially equipped premises and in an environment close to the family one. “Blue rooms” have been opened today in the two district towns.
“Working with children, who are victims of crimes and child offenders is particularly delicate. To gain confidence during their hearing in both criminal and civil proceedings are needed not only trained professionals but also an appropriate environment”, said Deputy Minister of Justice Evgeni Stoyanov in Haskovo.
The special rooms for working with minors and juveniles in connection with criminal and civil proceedings have been built and equipped by the Ministry of Justice with the financial support of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Program under the project “Strengthening the Legal and Institutional Capacity of the Judicial System in the field of juvenile justice”. The premises are provided free of charge by the municipalities of Haskovo and Smolyan. While the district courts there will ensure the organization and coordination of their use by all institutions working with children.
“Within the area of jurisdiction of Haskovo 148 children at risk have been accommodated with foster parents and the protection measure concerning them has been changed from 2017 until now. 27 of them have been involved in proceedings for change and deprivation of custody rights, as well as in matrimonial proceedings, while 7 minors have been victims of domestic violence. These statistics clearly show the need of the functioning of a “blue room” here”, said the chairperson of the Haskovo District Court, Miglena Tyankova. She specified that the room would be used not only by the judicial authorities, but also by the investigating authorities and the institutions working with children at risk.
Also Daniela Dimitrova, representative of the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation, was a guest at the ceremony in Haskovo.
At the opening of the blue room in Smolyan, the Mayor of the Municipality, Nikolay Melemov, stressed that today’s event is a good example of interaction between the institutions.
The Deputy Minister Stoyanov thanked the Swiss Government for its substantial contribution to the construction of the material base, enabling the carefully and friendly hearing of children who have come in contact with the law. Through the financial assistance of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Program during the past two and a half years, the Ministry of Justice has built a total of 8 “blue rooms” in the country – Varna, Pleven, Kozloduy, Vratsa, Haskovo, Smolyan, Dobrich and Razgrad.
Judges and prosecutors from Haskovo and Smolyan, representatives of the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of the Interior, the Social Assistance Directorates, the Child Protection Departments, local commissions for anti-social behavior of minors and juveniles, social workers, etc. attended the two ceremonies.
“The blue room” is a specialized room for a friendly hearing of children, who have come in touch with the law. It includes two rooms with separate entrances. A common wall, part of which is a special glass, connects them. Psychologists and experts trained to work with children will conduct a dialogue with minors and juveniles in the room with colored walls, which is equipped with sofas and toys, while judges, prosecutors, police officers and lawyers will be able to monitor the conversation in a neighboring room through a mirror glass. They will be able to ask questions through the expert trained to work with children, using special audio equipment.