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Daphne Programme
Project Ref 2000-064-C
Belgium  Directory of organisations working in the area of missing and sexually exploited children
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Pilot project to develop the structure of a Directory of Organisations working in the field of missing and sexually exploited children; and establishment of a European network of organisations.
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Comments


This first-stage pilot project aimed to begin the research and presentation of a directory of organisations working in the fields of missing and sexually exploited children. The first stage brought together information from seven countries (Belgium, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and Romania) to devise and test the data collection methodology.
This was focused on a detailed questionnaire and follow-up processes designed to compile information on the details and working methods of the NGOs concerned.  In the process, the partners were able to discuss the ways they worked and develop useful experiences for the use of other organisations, thus ensuring that the Directory would not only be a reference point but also a useful tool in efforts to find and assist children who have gone missing or are in situations of sexual exploitation.
The processes used in compiling the information also facilitated the establishment of a specialised network of NGOs and experts, for example from law enforcement.  This in itself reinforces efforts to locate and help children and their families.
The results of the pilot were presented to the the European Parliament in a meeting in December 2001, attended both by private and public organisations involved in this issue.  This was also an occasion to launch the Directory and publicise its existence. 
The lead organisation aimed to develop the Directory further and a number of follow-up projects were carried out with Daphne support.
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Lessons and Ideas


1. The activities involved in compiling the questionnaire, analysing and processing the data collected in 65 duly completed questionnaires proved more problematic than expected. The lead organisation had constructed a very detailed 40-page questionnaire requiring very specific and comprehensive answers from a large number of NGOs operating at international level. This draft questionnaire was submitted to the partner organisations at the first international working meeting held on 23 February 2001 in Brussels. Most of the partner organisations wanted a slimmed-down questionnaire with fewer open-ended questions, and comprising not more than 20 pages. The leading organisation (Child Focus) took the partners’ remarks into account and reworked the questionnaire layout and structure. This added an extra month to the original estimated timetable for compiling, drafting and sending out the questionnaire. However, it was clear that the Directory would not be useful, and the pilot processes not sufficiently tested, if a simpler questionnaire had been developed. One lesson from this is that developing a fully usable questionnaire is often more time-consuming than anticipated; this should be considered when a questionnaire-based project is being planned. Another lesson that has come out of Daphne projects that use questionnaires is that sometimes it is useful to do a two-stage questionnaire, where the first questionnaire is very brief and includes just enough questions to help the lead organisation decide whether to send a more detailed questionnaire to the organisation concerned. Although this would not have been relevant in this project, since detailed replies were needed from every respondent in order for the Directory to be compiled, it might be useful in other projects where the questionnaire is not so specific but designed more to gain general informant or opinions.

2. Child Focus was also faced with translation problems, since many organisations either filled in the questionnaire or attached extra explanatory documents (e.g., mission statements) in their own language. These particular translation issues had not been envisaged when the project was submitted to the Commission, so the estimated budget was well short of what was needed to cover all the translation costs involved. Many organisations had also filled in the questionnaire by hand, which left Child Focus having to try and make out handwriting which was not always easy to read and unable to put them directly on computer without retyping. These problems with language, reading and retyping the replies to the questionnaire involved a significant added workload for Child Focus, and considerably more collaboration from the partner organisations than initially planned for. However, thanks to a high level of cooperation throughout the project between Child Focus and the partner organisations, the expected results were achieved and contacts were strengthened. Organisations planning this kind of project, though, might want to allow more time and resources for processing questionnaire replies.
3. The findings and conclusions drawn from the work on compiling this Directory as regards the situation in each country prompted both the beneficiary groups and a wider audience to call the attention of national governments and the European authorities to the need to bring more national and European resources to bear on tackling these issues.
4. Child Focus’ final report also noted the following important lessons:

  • the unequal numbers of NGOs dealing with missing children as opposed to sexual exploitation of children;
  • the lack of regular and systematic collaboration and dialogue between NGOsand public authorities,
  • the need for specialist staff in NGOs, and better, more professionally-trained staff in NGOs instead of volunteers to deal with these sensitive issues
  • the need for many NGOs to work in more than a simply local sphere of action in their country,
  • the importance of promoting channels of communication and platforms for meetings between NGOs at both national and international level
  • the need for a structured, international network of operational organisations in the fight against the disappearance and sexual exploitation of children working with public authorities under cooperation agreements
  • the need for official structures to collect statistics on these issues at national, then European, level,
  • the importance of setting standard criteria to help bring NGOs up to a high level of professionalism, thus gaining official recognition and fostering the likelihood of cooperation agreements
  • the need for an official agency in each country to collect national statistics analysing the extent of these problems,
  • the importance of building awareness among, and gaining recognition and more substantial support from national governments and the European Institutions for qualified organisations dealing with these problems.
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Material Available


· The Directory is posted on the website: http://www.childfocus.org
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Documents


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Useful Links


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Multimedia


movie  Child Focus - Journal TV

2002 - European Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children
http://www.childfocus.org/
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real player  1,22 MB
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windows media player  6,3 MB
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windows media player  0,43 MB
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real player  0,77 MB
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windows media player  3,97 MB
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windows media player  0,27 MB
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