The All-Russian teleconference on suicides of minors presided over by Children’s Commissioner Anna Kuznetsova has been held today at the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations.
The meeting discussed interagency cooperation in handling suicides of minors, improvement of legislation and prevention of suicides among teenagers and rehabilitation of survivors.
“We are holding a very important event today which should become the first step towards coping with a very serious problem of a new quality of raising our children in a present-day Russia,” the Emergency Minister said adding that prevention of suicides is a very significant and pressing issue.
He pointed out that the Emergency Ministry in forming professional fire and rescue team implemented advanced approaches to prevention and management of risks. The Ministry teaches children basic life safety and builds life safety culture among children and teenagers.
Mr. Puchkov said that each year the Emergency Ministry holds a large number of events for children in schools and universities throughout all regions of Russia. Children and teenagers are taught life safety as part of the All-Russian children and youth movement Safety School. More than 2 million children each year get profound theoretical knowledge and skills in safe conduct in water, in urban areas, how to react adequately to natural risks, how to help themselves and those around them.
In her report Ms. Kuznetsova stressed that so-called groups of death are one of the main reasons for a 60% surge in the number of suicides in 2016.
“From 2011 to 2015, the number of suicides in the country was falling 10% each year. But in 2016, it went up to 57% throwing us 5 years back. One of the key reasons for this state of affairs is snowballing spread of groups of death in social networking websites,” the Children’s Ombudsman said during the meeting.
There are a lot of problems to tackle in fighting the situation. “According to our data, in 2016, 47% of Russian schools had no psychologist teachers,” Ms. Kuznetsova said adding that it is being dealt with at the moment.
She underlined that to solve the problem it was necessary to improve legislation, guidance and make specialist’s help more available.
The meeting was also attended by deputy chairperson of the State Duma Irina Yarovaya and head of the Federal Communications, Information Technologies and Mass Media Inspectorate (Roskomnadzor) Alexander Zharov.
“In addition to groups of death there are new games now. This is why I’ m offering introducing criminal liability for organizing dangerous games which are basically on a mass scale now. This is an emergency. I am talking about such games as Magic Fairy, Run or Die, Train Surfing,” Ms. Yarovaya said.
“We are facing a new kind of crime – a distance murder,” she added defining the problem of teenage suicides in Russia.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been monitored since early February 2017 when it became known that suicide-related content started to spread from groups of death to Instagram. 1,151 suicide-related messages have been registered since then.
“Thanks to cooperation with administrations of foreign social networking services, we have deleted 724 links, which is 62% of the total number of links that are on the List of Prohibited Websites,” Alexander Zharov said.
According to him, 71 territorial offices of Roskomnadzor have already held meetings with representatives of regional offices of the Interior Ministry, the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor’s Office, territorial offices of Rospotrebnadzor (the federal consumer rights protection authority), representatives of human rights and children’s ombudsmen.
“Such events are planned to be held from time to time. Joint coordinated work gives certain results,” Mr. Zharov said.