Peer violence in Republika Srpska (RS) is becoming more and more brutal, and this should be an alarm to seriously approach this problem, said Gordana Rajic, Children’s Ombudsman.
Rajic emphasized that prevention and early intervention play a key role in preventing this problem.
”In cases of peer violence, the cooperation of parents and the school is especially important, because it is only possible to ensure adequate protection of children from all forms of violence, abuse, and neglect through the joint action of all protection entities,” Rajic stated.
According to her, it is important to recognize all forms of violence, not only those of a physical nature.
She pointed out that it is necessary to pay attention to changes in the child’s behavior, which are the first indication that something is wrong.
”This is especially important because children are often silent about violence, because they are afraid of the reaction of the bully, but also that the reaction of the subjects of protection will be absent. That is why we must react to violence immediately because every missed opportunity to point out that violence is unacceptable is actually a confirmation that it can be tolerated,”she warned.
Rajic said that the victim must receive adequate psychosocial support, and the perpetrator of violence must be adequately sanctioned, and it must be taken into account that when both the perpetrators and the victims are children, the ”sanction” has primarily an educational character with the aim of correcting the behavior that led to violent behavior.
Every year, the Children’s Ombudsman organizes educational workshops in the schools of RS, where they try to point out to children what behaviors are not acceptable, that is, in what forms violence can occur.
At these workshops, children can learn how and in what way to react when they or someone they know are victims of violence, with a special emphasis on violence on the Internet.