Prague - Human Rights Minister Džamila Stehlíková introduced Tuesday the government's strategy for prevention of violence against children for the period 2008-2018.
The program will comprise all fundamental services and care as well as active policies against family violence, alcoholism, gambling, bullying and addiction.
Number of abused children increases
The number of abused children is growing alarmingly in the country. Last year, there were 5,500 crimes committed against children, according to police statistics.
This number includes 938 rapes and other types of sexual abuse of children. As many as 1,884 children were physically or mentally abused.
Another disturbing number is the 69 percent of Czech children who have had experience with alcohol consumption before they reached the age of 13. Many of them allegedly drink regularly, at least once a week.
Pregnant women to be warned
Among the measures the minister proposes to limit alcohol consumption is a proposal to curtail advertisement of alcohol drinking aimed at underage audiences.
Also, Stehlíková suggests that labels on alcoholic beverages should state a warning about the adverse affect of alcohol on pregnant mothers and the fetus.
"Serving an alcoholic beverage to a child under 18 is illegal. And children shall be protected against alcohol abuse and other drugs even before they are born," Stehlíková said.
The strategy also brings sanctions against those who sell alcohol to the underaged in restaurants or at concerts and other cultural events. They could be fined with CZK 50,000 on the spot and organizers could face a fine of up to CZK 2 million and a two-year ban of their business.
In order to prevent car accidents caused by young drivers under the influence of alcohol, the minister suggests that people between 18-21 years be issued only "driving authorization certificates".
Another proposed measure is that at cultural events such as concerts, at least one non-alcoholic beverage should cost less than beer.
New campaign and special council
Džamila Stehlíková will also be in charge of the STOP Violence on Children campaign that will take place in 2009.
The campaign will be organized by a special body - the Council for Family and Child. The council will be presided by the prime minister and its members will comprise of experts and ministers of labor, education, health, interior, justice and, of course, human rights.