Compass Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine: when Policeman Becomes an Uncle

img_0039“I come here often,” Senior Inspector of the Juvenile Prevention Department of National Police of Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Andrii Stadnik is sitting by the table in the centre Compass of Kharkiv City Charitable Foundation Blago. He is smiling and pointing at the table. “Look, here I even have my own cup to drink from…”

Andrii Stadnik started to work in police in 1998. He says he is very happy with his job now. In Compass he meets many children who are grateful for not being send to prison, and he likes to be able to help them. The regulars of the centre even call him uncle Andrii, and this shows very good relations between people in the Ukrainian culture.

18 years old Oleksandr (Sasha) is sitting in front of Andrii, at the same table. Sasha is one of the main characters in the film that was made about the centre Compass a few years ago. Once he was detained by Andrii Stadnik and stayed under police control for some time. Now, after the client management program at Compass, Olexandr is doing much better. He even found a job as a security guard. “Now I somehow feel as Andrii’s colleague,” Sasha smiles.

“The criminal juvenile cases decreased tremendously last years, due to the approach when juvenile police is collaborating with a youth centre that offers client management. These alternative supporting ways are more constructive and more effective,” Senior Inspector of the Juvenile Prevention Department is telling us. “Previously there were 2000 cases per year, and now it is 362. The formulas of substances that circulate on the streets change so fast that young people can often not be prosecuted, but by giving youth an option and an alternative for other options, young people have less problems and also cause less problems for the society they live in.”

img_0036There are 492.000 children in the region in total. 897 families are under juvenile department control in Kharkiv region in Ukraine. The Juvenile Police checks these families, sees how they are doing, and if there are cases of child abuse, financial problems, and so on. Kharkiv Juvenile police is also inviting colleagues from other smaller cities or villages, and teaches them how to work with the Centre Compass. Through this cooperation they found out that young people from the region have difficulties with coming to the Centre since Kharkiv is too far for them. That is why now once a week a social worker of the Centre travels to the villages to counsel young people in need there.

Kharkiv City Charitable Foundation Blago has a long history of working with key populations, including people who use drugs, sex workers, men having sex with men and street children. The organisation started to work with adolescents using drugs since 2012 within the framework of “Bridging the Gaps: Health and Rights of Key Populations” project, through ICF “AIDS Foundation East-West” (AFEW-Ukraine.) Bridging the Gaps project supported the opening of the centre Compass that specifically serves vulnerable adolescents and young people, focusing on youth using drugs. The centre offers psychological counseling services, medical help, testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C. It is a daycare facility with social workers, psychologists and medical workers. The centre is providing case management services to youth using drugs, and also works with youth in prisons, and vocational schools.

2016 International Consultation: Policing, Public Health and Vulnerable Populations is Announced

LEPH2016-DL-FlyerThe 2016 International Consultation: Policing, Public Health and Vulnerable Populations will take place on 1 October 2016 in Amsterdam. It will focus on police work with sex workers, injecting drug users, homeless people, sexual minorities, and trafficked persons. The registration for the event will be opened in August.

The Consultation will be held prior to the 3rd International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health 2-5 October, Amsterdam. Participants of the event will consider and endorse principles to guide the greater participation of vulnerable populations in building safe, secure and healthy communities in partnerships with police.

The purpose of the Consultation is to promote best practices in policing and inter-sectoral partnerships to ensure healthy lives and wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalized populations (SDG3), and promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG16). Police and other law enforcement agencies, community organizations and representatives of vulnerable populations, government agencies, United Nations agencies and other international development organizations are expected to participate in the event.

The 2016 Consultation follows consultations on police and HIV held at the LEPH2012 and LEPH2014 Conferences. There is an increasing need to integrate HIV prevention programs with programs addressing other harms with the same populations. Further, HIV vulnerability is often secondary to other harms – such as gender-based violence, inequalities in wealth distribution, social exclusion, lack of job opportunities and education access, or being an undocumented migrant. A key principle of this integration is the involvement of vulnerable communities in the design and implementation of these programs.

Participation in the Consultation is open to registered participants at the 3rd International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH2016). Places are limited. Registrations will open around August through the Conference website: www.leph2016.com. For further information about the Consultation, write to leahn@leahn.org

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