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Over 1,565 minors in the Children's Home to be investigated for sexual abuse

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Πανω απo 1.565 ανorλι&kappa ;οι στο ΣπΙτι του Παιδιού προς δι ερεύνηση για σεξουαλικor κακοπ&omicron ;ηση

From the day of operation of the Children's Home (StP) in September 2017 until October 2022, referrals have been received for 1,565 children to be investigated for sexual abuse, the Hope Organization says in a statement For Children, on the occasion of today's European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

In the announcement it is stated that in 2017-2018, when the STP operated only in Nicosia, 136 children were referred, while in 2019, when the STP operated all over Cyprus, it handled 294 children, in 2020 – 324 children, in 2021 – 481 children and for the year which we are going through until the end of October 2022 referrals were received for 330 children.

According to data from the 2022 statistical analysis, in terms of gender, 23.3% were boys and 76.7% they were girls, data that also agrees with the data of 2021.

The average age of the children served was 12 years and the most common age was 14.  A rate that reaches 60% of the victims have Cypriot citizenship, followed by other citizenships in much smaller percentages.

Regarding the form of sexual abuse found from the data analysis, 49.7% (164 children) involved sexual abuse with physical contact, 23.3% (77 children) involved sexual abuse without physical contact  while 20.3% (67 children) concerned another type, i.e. exposure or exploitation (eg photos or videos on the internet).

In the announcement it is noted that these numbers agree with both international and European investigations as well as data resulting from corresponding structures.

With the operation of the STP, children who will be investigated for sexual abuse receive immediate support until the case is heard in Court.

< p>“There is a need for such coordinated actions to be taken for all forms of violence and not to discriminate in their management”, it is noted.

It is added that the STP has managed to bring together professionals from completely different specialties and to be able to share the same language and philosophy about avoiding further victimization of the child by retelling their story. 

The announcement also publishes a statement from a child who received services at the StP and has been rehabilitated: “Difficult things become easier when you share them with those who will support you. I would now like to help other children in my turn”.

The announcement also states that “Hope For Children” supports and promotes the Council of Europe campaign “Getting it right: ensuring child-friendly justice through Barnahus structures in Europe”   which invites member states to focus their attention on the Barnahus structure standards (“Children's House” in Icelandic).

The StP in Cyprus has been operating for the last 5.5 years and its management has been entrusted by the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare to Hope For Children.

It is recalled that for the design and operation of this structure,   preceded by special trainings by experts   in Iceland, America and Sweden.

STP provides services such as forensic interviews, medical examinations, psychological and social support, treatment and rehabilitation. At the Home, professionals from the Cyprus Police, the Social Welfare Services (YSS), the Mental Health Services (YPSY), the Educational Psychology Service (YEΨ) and the Medical Services collaborate. 

After by a decision of the Council of Ministers in 2022, the building extension of the StP was also approved. The expansion aims to meet the existing growing needs for child sexual abuse case management. The decision was made after finding that the needs for child sexual abuse case management are increasing.

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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