Law and child
What will change in our everyday life if the Law on Juvenile Justice is still adopted in Russia?
Parents under the hood
Today the most discussed topic on social networks is: will parents be under the hood of guardianship authorities if Russia adopts the Law on Juvenile Justice (UJ)? People are afraid that the state will begin to deprive them of their parental rights because they spank children or shout, do not allow lounging, and force them to study.
“Recently I found out,” writes Nataliya from Moscow, “that one mother turned off the Internet at home until her daughter corrected two at school. Later, the child complained of a “cruel” mother at the forum, human rights activists read it, tapped into custody, and officials, without understanding, decided that the mother was torturing her daughter. We arrived and took the girl to the shelter. The child, being among the street children, asked to go home, but there it was. "The poor woman had to collect a ton of certificates in order to return the child home."
There are a lot of absurd cases like this in the blogosphere: in one of the regions a poor family with many children was taken to a shelter because of a housing and communal service debt, in another, guardianship tried to take the children from the priest: he allegedly starves them. Increasingly, officials began to put pressure on parental instinct to crack down on objectionable human rights defenders. The last scandal in this series flared up around Evgenia Chirikova, the defender of the Khimki forest: the story of her communication with the guardianship, which came through a false denunciation, anyone can watch on YouTube.
People vs. SJ
Three years ago, in 2008, a new version of the Family Code was adopted in Russia with such vague wordings as “normal” education and “normal” conditions, and this freed the officials’s hands. The popular protest reached its maximum intensity at the end of last year, then The State Duma was forced to withdraw the amendment on juvenile courts, which it itself adopted several years ago. Now, the adoption of the Law on Juvenile Justice, experts say, is out of the question - lawmakers are afraid that people will begin to build barricades! But the guardianship problem remained, and parents continue to be convinced that the threat for our children is coming from the West. However, let's look at the statistics: in Europe, 2-3 thousand children a year are taken from crisis families, in the USA this figure reaches 6 thousand. Our business reaches 150 thousand children seized per year, all in all, about 400 thousand orphans are in the care of the state.
A significant difference between the western juvenile system and ours is that there is no such corruption. A child is placed there in a shelter only when there is a real danger to his life. Or in order for parents to have a powerful incentive to change their life - stop drinking or taking drugs, get a job. If a “problematic” parent wants, but cannot cope with his misfortune, then social workers help him, because family rehabilitation is an indispensable condition for juvenile technology. As a result, 70% of children seized by juvenile services in the West quickly return to their families.
In our country, if someone was deprived of parental rights, then, as a rule, forever. And this, according to human rights activist Boris Altshuler, is not accidental. A huge number of orphans, he believes, is beneficial to the system, which receives gigantic budget allocations for their maintenance, officials are given the right to manage the procedures of the family structure in a practically closed (“bribe-taking”) mode. This means that supporters and opponents of juvenile justice need to stop conflict, unite and direct their energy to fight this bureaucratic corporation.
Russian mothers abroad
A few years ago, the average man didn’t even know such words - juvenile justice. This term denotes a specialized branch of the judicial system, the so-called children's courts. And suddenly everyone started talking about it. First, the whole country watched how the scandal developed around the daughter of Natalia Zakharova in France. According to the mother, the juvenile judge robbed her of her daughter, accusing the mother of "suffocating" love for the child. The result is sadder nowhere: the girl has been living in a shelter for 13 years now, then in foster families, although her mother is ready to turn the mountains to bring her child back: even with the President and Cardinal of France, she met on this occasion several times.
Another juvenile scandal erupted in Finland around the Rimma Salonenen family: the boy complained at school that his father was punishing him with a belt, and when they found out that his mother wanted to take him to Russia, she was forbidden to see her son for a long time.
In Norway, the Russian mother was accused of raising a child like that, although, according to her, her son is just very shy, and the way the locals always smile at her, demonstrating that everything is okay.
These stories provoke indignation and fear among Russian parents: what if it will be like this with us? But, perhaps, it is not only in the South Ossetia, but also in our former fellow citizens who, having arrived in a foreign country, do not want to recognize local laws, are not able to accept a foreign culture, to adapt to an unusual way of life? In most of these cases, juvenile services still tried to help the family and not control their parents, but our pride in the Great Russians does not allow us to accept this help and advice. Sometimes it’s easier to take the pose of a victim of repression than to look into your soul.
“There are always two mutually exclusive trends in our society,” says lawyer Julia Meshkova, CEO of Virtus-Lex Law Firm. - We are greedy for everything foreign, and at the same time suspicious of everything new. As soon as some of them proposed to adopt the juvenile technologies of the West, others panicked that we would destroy the traditional family way. ”
Descendants of Pavlik Morozov
The rights of the child against the rights of parents - this is how the essence of the conflict between public opinion and juvenile justice can be formulated. The idea that our children, it turns out, has rights that we parents should not violate, plunges many into a real cultural shock. And although Russia signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child more than 20 years ago, no one seemed to be going to observe these rights.
For example, the creation in Russia of the Children's Helpline hotline service, by which a child can report that he is in danger or that he is mistreated, including in the family, is perceived as a direct threat to the sovereignty of the entire family institution. According to many believers, if our children are given the opportunity to complain about their parents, then only Pavlik Morozovs will grow up in their families. Maybe they are right, but if the helpline saves the life of at least one child who is in real danger, should we give up our adult ambitions? Unfortunately, in terms of the number of facts of domestic violence, Russia is one of the first places in the world, but, unlike the Americans, who honestly admit that they have sadistic parents, we protect ourselves with foam at the mouth.
Fear is a kind of illness. Information is the only cure for this ailment. We asked an expert in the field of family law Julia Meshkova to comment on the most common parental fears on the topic of UJ:
1 What happens if a child complains about me on the helpline that I punish him for deuces?
Psychologists work on helplines, and the goal of this hotline is psychological help. Service employees may, at the request of a child, call police or social services if the child complains that you beat him or, for example, deprive him of food as a punishment.
2 I am afraid that children will be taken away from me, because I am a single mother and earn little.
If nothing threatens the life and health of your children, no one has the right to pick them up.
3 If the guardianship comes to me with a check-up home when I am at work and sees what a mess there is, can it be concluded on this basis that I am a bad mother?
The conclusion is not made on the basis of a single visit, it is a complex event: the physical and psychological health of children is assessed, as well as many other factors. Secondly, tell the children not to open the door for strangers when you are not at home. No one will crack it; the inviolability of the home is guaranteed by the Constitution.
4 We don’t have a grandmother and a nanny, a first-grader son is often left alone at home, can officials use this against us?
If the child does not stay alone in a closed apartment for a long time, then there should not be any problems, in addition, try to enroll him in school in an extended day group.
5 The son has a peculiarity of the body: after the slightest blow there are traces, and he constantly knocks down all the corners in the apartment. What if the school decides that I beat the child?
It is necessary to stock up on a doctor’s certificate about the peculiarities of the child’s body and to show it and explain the situation to the questions of teachers or social service workers.
6 Our daughter has dyslexia and dysgraphia, but we don’t have money for a speech therapist. On this basis, can we conclude that the child is lagging behind in development through our fault?
In our country, there is still “conditionally” free medicine. If the doctor makes such diagnoses, then he is obliged to treat, for example, give a referral to classes with a speech therapist in a regional clinic or in a special center, there are also specialized educational institutions for such children. If you used all these opportunities, you can hardly be blamed for anything.
7 Daughters 15 years old, the most difficult age, she and everyone in conflict, recently announced that she would rather go to live in a shelter than with us. Can she do this without our consent?
Yes, maybe she will be accepted, but the social service in this case will have to make every effort to establish relations between the parent and the child (provide psychological assistance, for example), so that the child returns to the family. With “live” parents, the child cannot be in the shelter all the time; for this, good reasons are needed.
8 They say that children should not be forced to fast and go to night services, otherwise social services may take away the child.
As far as I know, even according to church canons, fasting is not allowed for children, pregnant women, the elderly and the sick.
As for the law: if these coercions harm the child’s health, both physical and psychological, social workers may well intervene in such a situation.
Why do we need children's courts?
Russia was the first country in the world to introduce children's courts: it happened more than 100 years ago. They existed until 1918. Modern juvenile courts began to appear only in 2001. Nowadays, about 10 of these children's courts operate in several regions of Russia. They operate within the framework of an experiment in the judicial system. The purpose of juvenile courts is to minimize punishment for a child in conflict with the law. Having received a suspended sentence, the child often comes across a new theft, and after that he is simply obliged to be sent to jail. And there he very quickly masters thieves' universities.
Where there are juvenile courts, around a child who has violated the law, they try to build a rehabilitation space. As a result of repeated offenses several times less. For example, in 2009, in the Perm Territory, out of 354 minors with whom juvenile technologies worked, only 12 people (3.2%) re-committed crimes. Where such work has not been carried out, repeat crime leaves 22%.
“First of all, you need to find the reason for the deviant behavior of the child,” says Mikhail Agafonov, coordinator of the Orthodox for Juvenile Justice movement. - Then propose socially acceptable models that meet his interests. If he is keen on extreme sports - send to conquer Elbrus. If you want to fight, go to the sports section, get medals at local competitions. He must participate in a conciliation conference, meet with the victim at the negotiating table, and learn to empathize. The task is to develop a joint plan for smoothing out specific harm: what can be forgiven of?
A child social worker around the world is perceived more as a doctor than as a warden or executioner. A doctor who treats a problematic family so that a happy and healthy child grows up in it.
ROO “The Right of the Child” will help you here: 103982, Moscow, Luchnikov per., 4, office 6. Tel .:
Advises Julia Meshkova, CEO of Virtus-Lex Law Office: • If you are not ready to receive uninvited guests from custody, you have every right not to open the door. It is best to meet with officials in their territory and find out what caused their interest in your family. Say: “I am in a state of severe psychological stress and do not understand what is written here. Therefore, I will not sign any documents now. ” Better yet, call a doctor: if a person is sick, no one has the right to force him to sign documents. • If officials decide that you are raising a child inappropriately and want to take him to an orphanage or children's hospital, show restraint and do not interfere in any way by force. Every word and every act can be regarded as proof of your inadequacy or unreliability as a parent. Contact a lawyer immediately, report to the media, call the Ombudsman’s Office or a law enforcement organization. These people are your allies. • If the child was taken from the family, the guardians have 7 days to collect documents for the court. A judge can deprive parents of their rights, make a decision on the temporary removal of a child from the family, but may also recognize the actions of officials as unlawful. Use this time to collect a dossier confirming that you are a loving and caring parent.
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