The project

Children First
Improving Local Services for a More Effective and Child-Centred Approach to Witnessed Violence


Children First is a European funded project which aims to improve levels of assistance and support for children victims of witnessed violence. Specifically, the project aims to increase the skills of professionals active in this field in dealing with and detecting, even in advance, cases of witnessed domestic violence, strengthening cooperation between the various parties involved in these issues.

During the project, training activities will be carried out for professionals and territorial guidelines and local operational agreements will be developed to promote future working tools focused on cooperation among the various specialized centers.

In this framework, the main project goals are:

  • To contribute at the application of the 10 Principles for integrated child protection systems through the improvement of the quality services to the child suffering of Witnessed Domestic Violence (WDV), through the involvement of specialized professionals who work with children for many years, who know their rights, their healthy process of psychophysical development and who have adequate training in the field of child protection.
  • To enhance the skills of practitioners working in selected critical areas to assist children victim of WDV;
  • To promote cooperation, multidisciplinary and holistic approaches among local institution, stakeholders and practitioners
  • To strengthened cooperation between competent regional/local authorities, NGOs, Stakeholders using the network of the partner organization as vehicles to promote the project outputs and the notions acquired during the project implementation


The path foreseen by the CHILDREN FIRST project consists in:

  • A preliminary assessment activity to understand all the main implications and features of WDV within each country and to figure out the training needs of the professionals, based on desk analysis and the involvement of professionals in data gathering
  • The creation of a training modules to create a common theoretical and operational framework to reduce the operational gap between various operators, and between them and crucial European and National regulations.
  • The realization of Pilot empowerment process, guiding mothers and children in processes of economic empowerment/ entrepreneurship and life skills and resilience
  • The involvement of local stakeholders and institutions in order to ratify new operational protocols.


CF is based on the general idea that active engagement stimulating the reflective practice and co-operative inquiry among social and professional actors is key for effective policies and concrete changes in attitudes among professionals. In this perceptive, the various activities have been conceived as a process where engagement and cooperation will bring to final shared outputs in order to improve the skills of professionals, to increase the capability of the intervention of the local institutions, to empower mothers and children.

Expected result

Children First is based on the direct involvement of all main actors at all stages of intervention on the child victim of WDV. In particular the project is targeted to:

  • Practitioners: a) social workers and managers of social services; b) Health-care professionals (psychologists, psychomotricists, child neuropsychiatrists, speech therapists, pediatricians, pediatric nurses), c) judges, d) lawyers,e) police officers working for the relevant municipalities and CSOs
  • Mothers and children affected by domestic violence
  • Policy makers and institutions relevant for the protection of the rights of the child at local/EU level

For each of this target we expected the following results.


  • Follow a standardized and uniform procedure for the detection and treatment of WDV cases
  • Increased knowledge and skills on methods and tools more appropriate to specific needs, criticalities in the treatment of such cases
  • More proactive and cooperative professional attitudes (related to active-engagement, reflective practice and co-operative inquiry)

Mothers and children:

  • Increased empowerment and resilient skills
  • Rely on more effective and holistic treatment services
  • Display greater trust towards authorities and feel to be protected among a set of competent and coordinated experts
  • Interact with competent authorities and practitioners more easily and efficiently

Policy makers and Institutions:

  • Increased cooperation and understanding between institutions, police officers, lawyers, judges, social workers and health care professionals and between them and the target of their services;
  • Daily provision of services towards children victim of WDV more in line with the principles contained in the EU laws (e.g.Ch. IV-V Istanbul Convention, Directive 2012/29/EU, UNRCR),
  • More effective provision of services, especially if dealing with urgencies (residence, healthcare assistance, etc.);
  • Reduced time needed for the assignment of cases among relevant entities;
  • More age-appropriate psychosocial counselling for child witnesses of all forms of violence