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    Enhancing Child Protection in Poland: The Kamilek’s Act

    President Andrzej Duda signed into law a significant amendment to the Family and Guardianship Code on August 4th, known as the Kamilek’s Act. This new legislation aims to strengthen legal protection for children against violence. The initiative follows tragic events and the outcry following the death of 8-year-old Kamilek from Częstochowa, who was brutally beaten by his stepfather.

    The Kamilek’s Act brings historic changes to bolster the safety of the youngest members of society. The groundwork for these reforms was laid at the Ministry of Justice, spearheaded by Deputy Minister Marcin Romanowski, who was responsible for the preparation of the amendment. The bill was presented in May this year and garnered support from experts at UNICEF. The Polish Parliament (Sejm) passed the amendment at the end of July.

    The Kamilek’s Act introduces several critical changes, including the implementation of Serious Case Reviews – a procedure aimed at analyzing the most severe cases of violence against minors. Equally significant is the introduction of “Minor Protection Standards” across various institutions such as schools, hospitals, and even tourist facilities. Additionally, modifications will be made to the role of the representative for children.

    These provisions establish a systemic approach to protecting minors from harm, including regulations pertaining to situations where a child suffers severe injury or death due to the actions of a parent or guardian. The law will investigate why no action was taken before harm occurred and suggest preventive measures to avert such incidents in the future.

    The “Network of Assistance to Victims,” managed under the Justice Fund, actively supports the youngest victims of violence. The Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with experts, is also crafting a nationwide strategy to combat sexual crimes against children. This effort culminated in the National Action Plan for safeguarding children from sexual offenses.

    In September, a nationwide awareness campaign will be launched jointly by the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF, aimed at combating child violence. This campaign will encompass informative materials, video spots, expert debates, and a conference. The overall objective is to enhance public awareness about various forms of violence inflicted upon children.

    The signing of the Kamilek’s Act by President Andrzej Duda marks a crucial step towards a safer environment for children in Poland. The legal changes, systemic safeguards, and comprehensive awareness campaign collectively signify a commitment to protecting the well-being of the nation’s youngest citizens.

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