The catalyst for the Police and Social Welfare Services is the conclusion of a report by the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of the Child Despos Michailidou, which was forwarded to the Attorney General, the Ministers of Labor and Justice and the Human Rights Committee of the Parliament.
In the conclusion, which was secured by “P”, the commissioner, among other things, states that the tangle began to unfold after the mother complained about the sexual abuse of her four-year-old daughter. According to the mother, the alleged perpetrator is a person who maintains friendly relations with the family and is a police sergeant. During the investigation, it was found that the complaint concerned the same person (a police sergeant) for whom a case of sexual abuse of his then 8-year-old daughter had been investigated in the period 2014-2017.
While there were some alarming medical findings that showed that his child had been the victim of systematic sexual abuse, no further action was taken by the child protection services.
The background of the case
Following a multidisciplinary meeting (dated 14 October 2020) held at the Commissioner's office, it was found that:
- In December 2014, the then 8-year-old child had to be hospitalized for a period of two weeks in the Pediatric Department of the hospital for vaginitis. He was examined by a pediatrician and gynecologist and a large entrance into the vagina and a rupture of the hymen were found, at which time the doctors recommended a forensic examination.
- A Social Services official was called immediately and informed the father about the obligation to investigate. The father flatly refused to take any action.
- After the persistent stop of services, the officer accompanied a female police officer to the General Hospital for a forensic examination of the child, which, however, was not carried out due to the child's refusal to cooperate.
- At this meeting, a state medical examiner stated that he was not going to conduct a forensic examination due to the refusal of the child and his parents. Specifically, the file of the social worker states: “The medical examiner was furious and shouted that he ruled out the fact that the child had been pierced by a male molecule as due to her age she would be bleeding and stating that she may have pierced by herself since her illness causes itching. ».
- The social worker later went to the Police Department to make a written complaint where the police officer asked her “what is the difference between giving a written statement and putting it in the drawer of his office than making a written report himself”. The father of the minor refused the child to cooperate with the child psychologist and signed his own discharge from the hospital.
- Eventually, despite the parents' refusal under the pretext of the child's refusal, the forensic examination of the girl was performed (dated 9/01/2015) by another medical examiner and an old hymen rupture was found, which marked the beginning of the investigation of the case.
- An additional testimony from the director of the Gynecology Clinic, which was sent to the Crime Investigation Department of a specific province, which requested an investigation, states that “what I can say is that the rape of the minor was repeated […] it is impossible to determine the time happened […] ».
- In October 2015, after various relapses, a new testimony was finally received from the child by a specialist psychologist. The Social Welfare Services submitted a request to the then Attorney General for parental rights. However, they claim that the result of the forensic examination of the child was never sent to the Services, so that they can support their request.
- The result was the reply letter of the prosecutor of the Legal Service (dated 2/11/2017) in which it is stated that “[…] there is no ongoing procedure, since the investigative file did not contain the appropriate evidence for criminal prosecution”.
The commissioner states that it remains unclear to this day how the child was found to have been sexually abused, who is still living with his family.
The finding includes: Failure to perform duty by police and refusal to register the complaint, misinterpretation of the law by the Legal Service regarding the definition of “victim” as the protective provisions apply before, during and after the criminal prosecution, failure of YKE to take protective measures because they had sufficient evidence to issue a temporary decree to remove the child and obtain parental rights.
Ms. Michailidou suggests to the prosecuting authorities to take corrective actions for the protection of the child by reviewing the existing testimony and the possible prosecution of any person. In the Ministry. Health suggests an examination of the possibility of initiating disciplinary or criminal prosecution of the medical examiner, who was appointed to conduct the first examination of the child. “I consider it an unjustified refusal to perform a duty,” he notes.