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The Children’s House received 368 cases of sexual abuse from January 2018 until today

Today, “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center together with the Council “FONI” responsible for the implementation of the national strategy to combat sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography, organized a press conference in order to inform the public regarding the results of the actions and services of the Children’s House (CH) so far.

With the opportunity of the European Day for the Protection of Children from Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, Ms. Anastasia Papadopoulou, President of the Council “FONI” and Ms. Andria Neocleous, Director of Humanitarian Division of Hope For Children, presented the important work implemented by the team of professionals of the Children’s House. This team consists of Hope For Children staff members, and representatives from Social Welfare Services (SWS), Cyprus Police, Mental Health Services, Medical Services and Ministry of Education and Culture. For the first time, all these bodies come to work together under the same roof, having as a priority the child and its protection in a child friendly environment. The Children’s House operates under the supervision of SWS and with funding from the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.

The conference was attended by the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, Ms. Despo Michaelidou, Mr. Andreas Anastasiades, Head of Cybercrime Office representing the Chief of Cyprus Police, members of the Council FONI and representatives of the Services being part of the operation of the Children’s House.

During the Conference, Ms. Papadopoulou congratulated Hope For Children and the Social Welfare Services for the successful and with remarkable professionalism operation of the Children’s House, in the manner this was designed and approved of as a part of the National Strategy for combating sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Referring to the statistics that were presented, she stressed that these show the need of the existence of a multidisciplinary center for the handling of all cases and the provision of therapy and support services to all victims. She also added that the statistics show the extent of the problem, as well as the existing gaps in relation to prevention of incidents and called upon all services and competent ministries to implement the prevention actions that they have undertaken through the National Strategy.

On behalf of Hope For Children, Ms. Neocleous gave a detailed presentation about the statistical data derived from the services offered to children and families that are referred to the CH following a report about sexual abuse. Specifically, she mentioned that from January 2018 until October 2019 the SWS and the Cyprus Police referred for the investigation of sexual abuse against children 268 cases in total. Out of those, 230 cases were referred only in 2019. For the majority

of the cases the suspect belonged within the family of the child, while for the rest of the cases reported where the suspect was not family member, again the majority were cases that the suspect was known to the child and usually a part of the child’s circle of trust.

All the services of the Children’s House are provided under the systematic supervision of external associates, social worker and psychologists, while all cases, without any exception, were handled through a multi-disciplinary approach and discussed in meetings with the presence of all involved services.

Lastly, the Director-General of Hope For Children, Mr. Joseph Borghese, stressed that the Children’s House promotes the development of specialization in relation to the handling of sexual abuse against children cases that every country is crucial to have. He added specifically: “There is a great focus on engaging everyone involved in the CH in receiving continuous training, mainly through the close collaboration with experts working in other Children’s Houses abroad, such as the Icelandic Barnahus. Hope For Children is one of the founding members of the Barnahus Network which among others focus on the exchange of know-how among the countries”.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact Hope For Children at 22103234 which operates 24/7.

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