INTERVENTION COMPETENCIES OF EDUCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS REGARDING THE SYNDROME OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Even in the 21st century we have to deal with phenomena such as child abuse and neglect. The epidemiological indicators clearly show that the syndrome of child abuse and neglect (CAN syndrome) exists in general population and it is necessary that experts have knowledge and competencies to be able to deal with this issue and effectively help the victims of these criminal activities. Educational professionals deal with some problems using only the expertise of their profession and with other problems together with other professionals, for example social workers, healthcare professionals or law enforcement authorities and the like. Apart from having necessary knowledge, teachers must be able to open up to their pupils even with a risk of not being understood and exposing themselves to possible emotional harm. The current situation in Czech schools and educational establishments is unfortunately anxiously focused only on teaching.
In 2008–2014, the authors carried out a long-term research mapping the level of selected crisis intervention competencies of various categories of educational professionals. The research sample consisted of 1020 educational professionals, especially teachers in preschools, primary and secondary schools and educators with different degrees and duration of professional experience. The research used qualitative methods. 102 focus group discussions with selected respondents took place. The findings reveal several significant facts. The entire study shows a high level of insensitiveness of many educational professionals to the signs of the CAN syndrome in children. 60% of respondents were not able to successfully detect the signs of the CAN syndrome. An essential part of the survey was the assessment and analysis of scenarios representing dialogues of educational professionals. All scenarios contained fundamental mistakes educational professionals may make when "investigating" the CAN syndrome. According to the authors, the results of scenario assessment are also alarming.
Regarding the size of the sample, it is certainly not possible to generalise the presented research. However, the authors believe that it is necessary to take very seriously every sign of incompetency which might lead to professional misconduct of an educational professional in a real situation at school. The current dismal situation may be overcome only by systematic training of educational professionals based on acquiring not only knowledge but also social skills, if possible in a form of a self-experience training.