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The approval of the LOPIVI: celebration and memory

Front page of the Congress of Deputies website that includes the BillThis week has been a time of celebration for all good people, for whom we consider children, girls and adolescents full citizens and a little more if possible for all the people who work, one way or another, in the field of protection: the approval of the Organic Law Project for the comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence (LOPIVI) by the Congress of Deputies in Spain. [Update: The Law has already been published and will take effect in a few days, with the final name of Organic Law 8/2021, the 4 June, comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence].

Throughout these almost twenty-five years that I have been working for the prevention and eradication of violence against children, girls and adolescents I have lived many things that, as I have commented on social networks, these days they crowded in my heart. And they all had to do with the path traveled, with the amount of things that we take for granted today, by logic, for known and what, as in any other movement for social change, son, however, the result of a very long work over time. A job that, When did it start, it seemed just like preaching in the desert, crazy, an impossible.

When I I started working on this issue, there were already people fighting to make violence against children visible, and adolescents. There was already a legally constituted protection system in Spain that was beginning to evaluate its operation. The Platform of Organizations for Children it was already constituted. There were already organizations and entities that had been working on this issue for a long time. Y, especially, there were many professionals already attending to the ultimate protagonists of this law: children, and adolescent victims of violence.

But everything that existed was perceived as people, organizations and entities serving a vulnerable group, scarce, unlucky, victim of some crazy people, sick, strange and, especially, very far from people's daily lives. “This in my house does not happen, this does not happen in my neighborhood, that happens to the poor, crazy or sick people do it”. “Poor little”, they said in the best of cases. “It is impossible, you invent it”, in the worst case. As with other victims of violence.

I want to count four examples that for me explain very well where we come from, and all the work that has been necessary to achieve the social change that would legitimize and make this legislative change possible.. Because it is so, a law never goes ahead if society is not prepared. And if you force, and is approved before that social change, the legal norm is attacked and questioned until its repeal or ignored and not implemented. Especially in the case of laws that address human relationships, not administrative or institutional, but human relations in any of its aspects. These laws must be incorporated by society to be implemented. The best example I can think of right now is the anti-smoking law, that required a brutal investment in social awareness to be implemented. When it was approved we were many people who thought it would be impossible, and now we fly in a plane, let's go on the train, we sit down to eat or go dancing without filling ourselves with smoke. And it seems normal to us. It seems obvious to us.

The first example that came to mind on Thursday was the day we published the first report that was produced in Spain on physical punishment of children at home, The document Love, power and violence. A Comparative Analysis of Patterns of Physical and Humiliating Punishment. Year 2005. That day I was coming home on the subway after the press conference and all the interviews. That was the first of all the press conferences that we had called until then since Save the Children for issues of violence in which the presence of the media was massive. Until then, two or three journalists came. The topic was not news.

That day I was coming home on the subway. It must have been nine at night and the topic had already appeared on the noon and night news. In the car where he was traveling, a very strong discussion broke out among a large group of people. But it wasn't really an argument. All agreed, and they agreed that we were crazy who presented the study, in what, course, children had to be beaten when necessary, that “But, they did not obey” and what had to “put them on the sidewalk”. That NGOs and psychologists wanted to tell them what to do with their sons and daughters, that “they were his” and that also the figures that we gave, sure that “we invented them”.

Portada del material de la campaña "Educa, don't hit"I speak of the year 2005 when we had already been working on the issue since the campaign “Educate, don't hit” statewide since the year 1999. They were years of campaign, training families and professionals in small towns and cities across the country, with a team of thirty people working directly on the issue, and many other institutions and organizations supporting the process and collaborating.

We train thousands of people. I remember when I was preparing that group of people who were going to have to give the courses, conferences, the interviews, I always told them: “Keep in mind that only if they feel the need to discuss what you say, to counter-argue, it's enough, because it will mean that you have cast doubt on something that is so ingrained socially that people do not even consider questioning. They take it for granted that they have the right to beat their children to educate them. It has always been done like this. Just sowing doubt is progress”. So it happened. They discussed us, even in some case they insulted us, they laughed at many of us, but we continue. And the doubt settled.

Folleto de la campaña "Corregir no es pegar"A second awareness campaign was needed against physical punishment of children in the family: “Correcting is not pasting”. And by the way one of the measures that was proposed in that campaign, for me not the most relevant but necessary, It was the modification of an article of the Civil Code. Not a law. An article. It took eight years of work to achieve it. Arrived in the 2007. And still today, there are people who do not doubt their right to hit and yell at their sons and daughters if they deem it necessary. But it's not obvious anymore, it is no longer a majority, it no longer seems so clear. We are on the way.

 

Second example, the elaboration of model of action protocol in cases of child abuse promoted by the Childhood Observatory of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Year 2008 (then successive modifications and improvements were published until the year 2014, what is current). It was developed in a working group that met for a year and in which for the first time representatives of the judicial field sat at a table with the social field, the educational field, the police field and the health field. Representatives of the Autonomous Communities and of all the fields that we intended to develop a protocol model that could serve the Autonomous Communities to promote their own protocols in the different territories, how it happened. I have lived those meetings again at the regional level in several autonomous communities. But I remember perfectly the difficulty of being accepted as a valid interlocutor without being a professional in the legal field. And remember, Among many other things, the discussion to ensure that the proposal be included in the protocol that compensation in convictions for cases of child abuse would not be calculated using the scales that were used until then, the ones about car accidents, but they could cover the cost of the therapeutic treatment that he would need (or that he had already needed depending on the years elapsed before the final judgment) that child to recover from the trauma that had been inflicted. Because let me remind you that neither then nor now is public and free treatment guaranteed to all children who are victims of any form of abuse.. In some autonomous communities yes, in others only those children, girls and adolescents who are victims of abuse in the family environment that leads them to a situation of vulnerability, in others not even that. I remember doing on that table the generic calculation of the number of minimum sessions multiplied by the cost officially established by the Official Associations of Psychologists per session. A figure that was much higher than the established scale. And just to pay for the treatment. The measure was included, and many prosecutors in their proposals and many judges in their sentences incorporated it. Many others continue to use the car accident scale, because it is the one that has always been used. We are on the way.

Third example, when in the year 2006 We also published from Save the Children the first investigation that was carried out on Attention to boys and girls victims of gender violence. The first. The first time they were called direct victims. No “witnesses”, ni “secondary victims”, but direct victims. An investigation that took two years of work by a team of incredible people that I had the honor of coordinating. One of those investigations that marked a before and after and a line of work that the organization has followed until the legislative modification of the Organic Law was achieved. 1/2004 of Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence in which children were recognized, girls and adolescents sons and daughters of women victims of gender violence as victims of that violence just like their mothers. Was in the year 2015. Were needed 9 years.

In that investigation very serious issues arose, but above all, when it was published, we had to listen to things like children, and adolescents “They were only witnesses”, that “They were not beaten”, that “They could not find out” of what his father or stepfather did to his mother, or if we recognized them as victims “Women would lose the resources they had to care for them because they would give them to children”. I remember that one of the measures requested in that investigation was simply that a box with the information on the number of sons and daughters the women had on the forms of protection orders. Their age was recorded, your country of origin… lots of facts about women. But nothing about his sons and daughters. We did it. With a nuance: that for years, this data was not included in the statistics that were published on the subject. That first investigation was the beginning of a very hard process to achieve something that is still a pending issue in many places and is the need for Equality and Childhood interventions to work hand in hand. We are on the way.

Conducting research, not only from an academic perspective but from the perspective of professionals in the field, has been a key part of this process of making violence against children visible, girls and adolescents and the deficiencies that exist in the system when it comes to attending to the pain of the victims. There have been two subsequent investigations that I have had the privilege of coordinating since CI Spirals With F. Javier Romeo, on various aspects of the protection system that have played a key role in the legitimacy of the legislative change process. On the one hand, the one made for UNICEF Spain about childcare, girls and adolescents in residential and family care in Spain called A place to stay, in which several of the problems exposed in the justification of the bill clearly emerged.

For another, the one made for SOS Children's Villages Spain with the title Arrive on time. Children, girls and adolescents at risk in Spain. Both investigations have been other steps on this path. The path of giving visibility to the different problems that LOPIVI intends to respond to from the analysis of daily practice from a child rights perspective.

 

And a last example, for me perhaps the most painful. Throughout these years Spain, like the rest of the countries that have ratified it, is obliged to submit a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CDN). As each country, Spain presents its report at the government level, and NGOs, associations and entities can present their alternative reports. In Spain it is carried out by the Platform of Organizations for Children jointly. A much more complicated job than people can imagine, but absolutely essential in which I was able to participate twice. In these reports presented by the government, the statistics published by the INE are collected. (Statistics National Institute) on deaths in Spain, in this case of children, and adolescents in our country. The problem is that the data is collected by causes of death and, as such, disaggregated: you have to add several sections to know how many children, girls and adolescents have died of violent causes in our country. But it is not only necessary to add the boxes corresponding to violent deaths. Because among its causes are the murders, homicides of boys and girls, suicides and a very scary category of accidental assault deaths, that are categorized this way because many times it is not known who produced the aggression or if it was done intentionally (we talk about burn deaths, stabbings, shooting or poisoning). Every year that number hurts me, so in the year 2014 I posted a blog post that I called “Counting our dead, also when they are boys and girls”. I posted it on my darling's blog Xosé Cuns “Do not ask me calm”, collecting data from 2011 contained in the last report presented by the government to the Committee. I thought that article would generate controversy, but it was not like that. And it should have generated. Because the figures are scary. The Complete Record of Violent Deaths of Children, girls and adolescents in our country continues to be a pending account to which the LOPIVI intends to respond by finally creating that registry. We are on the way. Because let me remember something I said in that article: It is difficult to create effective and adjusted measures if we do not know the magnitude of the problem.

All this and much more is part of a process of social change that has happened in our country in the last twenty years. Now many things seem obvious, as if they had always existed. But it's not like that. When this week the approval of the LOPIVI was discussed, there were those who suggested calling it “Ley Rhodes”, because the role of James Rhodes has been key to accelerating a process that, although it was happening, it happened at an infuriatingly slow pace. Your book Instrumental it was something difficult to express for many people. He lent his name, but above all his pain to give voice to many victims. I can never thank you enough. This law is also yours, although not only yours. Let us bear in mind that before him there were many victims who asked to speak to the president of the government and were never treated. Not a prime minister, various, of various parties and political signs. Why? Because Spanish society was not prepared and the political cost for any politician of any political sign to take a position on this issue was too high. The current government has been very courageous in promoting the LOPIVI approval process and it has been achieved with high political consensus., because society did not question it (except for some specific measures in the law that did cause debate), because it seems obvious, it seems justice. But it seems so now.

The very process of formulating the bill hides behind a very long process. Let me just give a few dates. First presentation on violence against children in the Congress of Deputies, year 2005. Creation of the sub-commission on violence against children, year 2014. In this blog post we wrote about that subcommittee. Presentation of signatures for the no prescription of child sexual abuse crimes, May of 2016. Creation of a working group of organizations and entities promoted by Save the Children and Santander Chair of the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas to prepare a joint draft of the law that could be taken to the Senate and Congress, year 2018. Sending the draft bill, December 2020. Approval of the Bill (in the absence of his passage through the Senate and, if there are relevant modifications, again by Congress), April 2021.

This week there was also talk of three-year processes, of five years for some of the measures that this law has collected and that represented a before and after in this process, because they are processes promoted by adults who were victims of some form of abuse in their childhood. Adults who stepped forward and put a face and a voice to the silenced horror. Only adult people who were victims in childhood and adolescence could do that, because children's organizations, no matter how hard they worked to make that pain visible, they could not get the children out, girls and adolescents to tell what was happening to them. They couldn't speak alone, they needed the adults who could already do it. People like Vicky Bernadet, as Miguel Hurtado, as Gloria Visors, as Manuel Barbero. They and they gave name and surname. But before that there were also the victims' associations that had been established for years, as ACASI, the Garaitza Association, The World of ASI, the RANA Foundation and many others demanding to be attended and carrying out an essential social awareness work. His voice and his work gave legitimacy to what organizations like Save the Children, the ANAR Foundation, UNICEF Spain, SOS Children's Villages Spain the Educo they counted in their data. They all made data take life and soul. Without them, all of them, concrete people, victims associations, this law would never have been passed.

There was talk of entities and organizations. I have mentioned them. With the priceless role of the Platform of Organizations for Children (THEN) and Federation of Associations for the Prevention of Child Abuse (FAPMI).

And it was reminded jurists and academics who supported the organizations in their process. Impossible not to mention here Clara Martinez or to Félix López, Jesus Palacios, Jorge Fernandez del Valle, Enrique Echeburúa, Maria Ignacia Arruabarrena the Naomi Pereda. Professionals who gave legitimacy with their investigations or with their knowledge to processes undertaken by the entities. Professionals in the field of childhood have something in common: Somos continued!, not to say directly that we are stubborn. Without all these entities and the professionals who supported them, this law would never have been approved..

But to me I have missed three mentions this week with which I want to end this article of celebration and gratitude.

The first is to the international process. It was said that Spain is a pioneer. But this law would never have been passed without the realization of the World Report on violence against children (also known by the name of “Informe Pinheiro” by haber been Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro su coordinador). It was the first study to be carried out worldwide on violence against children, and forced the United Nations to recognize the brutal dimension of this problem in all countries and regions of the world. Going back to what I was saying at the beginning, I have worked on the issue of physical punishment of children in 32 countries. In all without exception I have been told in the workshops that the punishment “it was part of their culture”. One of the things that report made clear is that violence against children, although it has some specificities, it is not something cultural, nor typical of certain social or economic classes. It is a universal problem, that has to do with the abuse of power in interpersonal relationships, with the need to achieve a change in relationships between people, and especially between adults and children, and adolescents. A problem that has to do with the recognition of children, girls and adolescents as full citizens. And in this process I want to mention two people who played a key role and of whom little has been said this week. On one side, Jorge Cardona, as Spanish representative on the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and on the other, Elda Moreno as responsible for Children's Rights Area in the Council of Europe, that promoted the campaign “Your hands are to protect” against physical punishment, the bell “One in five” on child sexual abuse that arose after approval in 2007 of Lanzarote Convention (Council of Europe Convention for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse), and the current campaign “Start to Talk” (“Start talking”) against sexual abuse in sport. Without these three campaigns this law would never have been approved.

The second is to the Defenders of the rights of the child, Nina your teen. From the Children's area of ​​the Ombudsman to the Defensoría existing in different Autonomous Communities. I want to highlight the work of the office of the Ararteko, the Ombudsman, the OBIA (Balearic Office for Children and Adolescents), the Andalusian Ombudsman and Palma City Council's Ombudsman, who have publicly positioned themselves in denouncing different forms of violence that children were suffering, girls and adolescents in their respective territories. The legitimacy of their complaints as independent institutions has supported the work of children's organizations in this process..

And the other mention that I have missed is all the professionals who work daily with the last protagonists of this law: children, and adolescent victims of violence. I'm talking about the professionals of the protection system, who work in residential care or foster care resources, in different intervention programs at risk, in social services and as technicians in protection services: educators, psychologists, social workers…, all those people who daily hold the pain of these children, and adolescents. And especially those who work directly in specialized therapeutic care resources. I could mention many, many but let me mention the UTASI psychologists with whom we have published the book Putting soul to pain, the Margins and Links Foundation, ADIMA, the Xylem Foundation, the A La Par Foundation, Victoria Noguerol, Maria Perez, José Luis Gonzalo, Javier Soriano Romeu, Begoña Aznarez and José Luis Marín, Jorge Barudy and Maryorie Dantagnan, Natalia Seijo, Cristina Cortes, Elena Borrajo, Loli Urízar Nieto, Ana Sieiro, Toni Echeverria, Josu Gago, Alberto Rodriguez, Javier Múgica… and i could go on. I have worked in recent years with professional teams of entities that from their work in the resources of the protection system bring light to the darkness from which these children are trying to emerge, and adolescents. And they do it when they do their job well, give them warmth and hope. And once again this week they have been the great forgotten.

It has not only been politicians who have made this law a reality, nor the visible faces that we have seen in the media. Those who make it a reality and will do it on a daily basis will be these professionals whom we try to accompany from CI Spirals years ago. I think of good teachers, those who look at the lives of their students beyond the subjects they teach, they see the pain in front of them and they do not ignore it. I think of the male and female educators who work tirelessly in the protection centers, in family intervention programs in risk situations, in municipal social service centers, on the street, in the squares, in leisure and free time resources… I am thinking of the members of the State Security Forces and Bodies who resist although “the others”, as a friend once told me, “always be more and are better endowed”. I think of the doctors, nurses and health personnel looking at these children, girls and adolescents and name the horror and sign it in a report for which they will have to answer judicially, but they do it because they know it's part of their job. I think about the prosecutors, judges, psychosocial teams, lawyers, court clerks…, all those people who try to train and improve a system that is not adequate to protect the rights of children, girls and adolescent victims.

Because the LOPIVI speaks of the horror of which the human being is capable. But it speaks above all about the entire immense network of incredible people that I have had the privilege of meeting.. People who are moved, they get angry and get involved in the fight against that horror. This article is intended to be my little tribute on behalf of the team of CI Spirals to all of them in a moment that deserves celebration and memory. Y, once the article is finished, it's time to continue. There's still a lot, a lot to do. And this week's sentences are proof of it. But every time we are more. And so it is much easier.

Thanks from my heart,

Pepa Horno (in the name of Spirals equipment CI)

Comments

Comment the Gem
20 April, 2021

What a review of the historical evolution of this new Law, so needy, claimed and worked. You have not forgotten anything or anyone. It is the living memory of a process that, as you say , well worth the adult and professional effort for children , girls and young people of today, yesterday and tomorrow. Thanks, Joe, dear friend for putting heart, soul and professionalism in this great, wonderful achievement.

Comment the Pepa Horno – CI Spirals
20 April, 2021

My dear gem, you are part of this path and you know it. Your work in the media, your work for the Rana Foundation. You've been there when few wanted to see. So thanks. You are part of this text. Hug!

Comment the Chus
20 April, 2021

Congratulations, Joe, for the fruits of many years fighting for children on so many fronts!

Comment the Pepa Horno – CI Spirals
20 April, 2021

Thanks from my heart, Chus. As you always say “essence” it does not change. And here there was a lot of life and a lot of people behind this law. I wanted to tell it. Immense hug to the three

Comment the Home
20 April, 2021

Pepa often compilation work!! How wonderful and generous to share so much with so many people. Huge hug and my sincerest congratulations.

Comment the Pepa Horno – CI Spirals
20 April, 2021

Yes! It seemed important to me to make the shared path visible. It has been a lot of people and a lot of effort that in moments of exhaustion could seem useless. But it wasn't. And I wanted to thank all those people “headstrong”. Big hug

Comment the Sandra
20 April, 2021

Joe, congratulations once again… For the article and especially for the enormous work behind it, for all the years of effort to get to this. Now it's time to celebrate and gain momentum for what lies ahead. A hug with infinite affection.

Comment the Pepa Horno – CI Spirals
20 April, 2021

Thank you, Sandra and all the professionals like you in every school who look at the boys and girls with conscience, seeing each one in their individuality. It is a pleasure to work with you. Big hug

Comment the Victoria Noguerol
20 April, 2021

Thank you very much Pepa for your work, for your commitment, for your love
Essential!
Thanks from my heart!

Comment the Pepa Horno – CI Spirals
21 April, 2021

Thank you, Victoria. You were one of the first, of which you were already when I started, reference of all of us. Thanks from my heart.
Joe

Comment the Javier RomeU
22 April, 2021

I read my name in the post and the phrase from Mecano's song comes to mind….”And at your party I cole…”. The same is that I suffer from Imposter Syndrome. A kiss and strength for what remains to go.

Comment the Pepa Horno – CI Spirals
22 April, 2021

I wish all “impostores” they were as legitimate as you. I wish all the boys and girls of the protection system would meet people like you. Big and grateful hug!

Pingback the Pepa Horno Blog » When work comes to life
23 April, 2021

[…] you like to read it, because many things are understood by doing "Celebration and memory" (This is the link of the entry, click please […]

Comment the Eliany Gutierrez
18 May, 2021

Thanks for such an accurate reminder. From Bolivia I celebrate these advances. The protection of our children has no borders. Big hug to you and all your team.

Comment the Elena
25 May, 2021

Wonderful article. Thank you and thank you for your work and this compilation. I share and celebrate.

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