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The city of Cluj-Napoca is located in the centre of Transylvania, about 300 km north of the capital Bucharest. With a population of about 400,000, it is the second most populated city in Romania. Since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, the city has become an important academic, cultural and economic hub. About 15% of the population are native Hungarian-speaking. Also, 3.5% of the population of Cluj-Napoca are ethnic Roma, a community that has been historically and structurally disadvantaged. Romania presents comparatively low levels of income inequality and spatial segregation in the cities. While poverty among children has dropped by over 30% since 2003, the risk of relative poverty continues to rise and has been identified as a key determinant leading to neglect and abandonment. Considerable gaps in violence prevention and protection of excluded and discriminated children in Romania remain a key challenge. Furthermore, domestic violence in Romania is widespread, the most prevalent form being intimate partner violence of which 24% of women are victims of.

Tackling all forms of violence and abuse against children through evidence-based policy-making is of key interest to the Romanian government, which ratified in 2004 a comprehensive set of child protection laws that forbid, among others, any form of physical coercion against children. In 2012, Romania adopted the National Strategy to Prevent and End Family Violence which aims to develop ‘zero tolerance for violence in the family’. Romania has ratified the 2011 Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Ending Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence and has set the ambitious target to end violence against children by 2030 It is also a Pathfinder country in the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

The research team in Cluj-Napoca will be led by Prof. Adriana Baban who is Professor of Health Psychology at the Department of Psychology at Babes-Bolyai University. Prof. Baban has extensive experience in applied research in the field of public and clinical health psychology, behavioural medicine and psychosomatic medicine. A consistent focus of her work has been that of addressing the relationship between trauma, abuse, and health as well as the promotion of mental wellbeing in children and adolescents. The team also includes Dr Diana Taut, Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University.She has experience designing interventions for health promotion in adolescents and adults.


Image source: Prof. Manuel Eisner