With increasing trends the sexual abuse of children - 1.176 cases in 4 years

The new campaign for the protection of children against sexual abuse has been launched

abuse violence, sexual abuse

Since the end of 2017, when the Children's Home started operating, 1.176 children have been referred to it for help, support and complaint, who have been sexually abused. A criminal phenomenon, which has been recording increasing trends in recent years, ringing the bell to all relevant bodies and society in general to strengthen actions to shield children and encourage them to break their silence.

According to information provided by the president of the "Voice" Council, Anastasia Papadopoulou, during yesterday's conference where in cooperation with the Police and the Ministry of Social Welfare, interesting facts were presented, as well as the new campaign for protection of children against sexual abuse , the numbers of children who contacted the Children's Home are:

► 136 children for the years 2017-2018

► 295 children in 2019

► 324 children in 2020

► 421 children in 2021 (until today)

In addition to the worrying upward trend observed in relation to this serious crime, Ms. Papadopoulou also focused on the fact that little by little the child victims are breaking their silence, being encouraged and complaining.

Regarding the profile of children who have been victims of sexual abuse, according to the data available to both the "Voice" Council and the other competent Services, it is shown that:

► 68,5% of underage victims are girls and 31,5% are boys

► 72,9% are Cypriots

► 43,3% of the cases the perpetrator was extra-family but known to the children, 36,9% of the cases the perpetrator was within the family and 9,4% of the cases the perpetrator was unknown. These facts come once again to confirm that in the majority of cases the cases of sexual abuse of minors have as perpetrator a person of trust or a person of close circle of children.

. Regarding the type of abuse, 61,3% were with physical contact and 30,6% without physical contact (internet, etc.).

► 66,8% related to abuse between a minor and an adult, 12,6% related to abuse between children under 14 years, 7,4% related to abuse among adolescents (14-17 years) and 7,1% related to abuse between a child under 14 14 years old and adolescent over XNUMX.

► 28,4% of their family was known to the Police, 55,5% of their family was known to the Social Welfare Services and 33,9% their family was known to the Social Welfare Services for issues of violence.

Besides, Ms. Papadopoulou, presenting the five pillars (primary prevention, secondary prevention, tertiary prevention-case management, research and evaluation) that are part of the National Strategy for Combating Sexual Abuse of Children, focused mainly on the intention to create a Service Center. who were abused as children and found the courage to break their silence several years later.

Actions and training of members of the Force

The Chief of Police, Stelios Papatheodorou, characterized the sexual abuse of minors as an invisible crime, which can happen at home, at school, on the internet, and mainly by people in the children's trust circle. Referring to the actions taken by the Force in recent years, both in tackling child sexual abuse and in combating child pornography, it focused, inter alia, on the creation of a special office and special sub-directorates dealing exclusively with these issues, as well as in the training of all members of the Police, including probationary police officers. Mr. Papatheodorou, referring to the other serious issue, that of child pornography, stated that it also shows an increasing trend, as in 2020 180 cases were reported and to date in 2021, 196 cases. The Chief did not fail to refer to court decisions regarding the conviction of perpetrators of such crimes, with particular reference to a 2020 decision based on which the perpetrator was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

The importance of the actions implemented in the framework of the National Strategy for dealing with and combating these criminal offenses against children was also mentioned by the Ministers of Labor and Justice, Zeta Aimilianidou and Stefi Drakou, respectively, who were present at the conference. It is noted that Ms. Aimilianidou was honored by the President of the Council "Voice", Anastasia Papadopoulou, for her great contribution to the preparation of the National Strategy and the assistance she provided to the work of the special Committee and then to the implementation of relevant actions.

Important tool for cross-sectoral response

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Anastasia Anthousi, in whose portfolio the implementation of the National Strategy has now passed, presented the Three-Year Action Plan 2021 - 2023, emphasizing that its purpose is the timely and rapid identification of high-risk cases and their holistic but holistic management. and monitoring their evolution.

Ms. Anthousi also referred to the CAN-MDS II system, a very useful and interactive tool which will be launched soon, and which will enable the collection of uniform data and the recording of incidents, which will consequently contribute to a better understanding. of the problem. Specifically, with the CAN-MDS II System, an attempt is made to promote a coordinated cross-sectoral response to cases of child abuse, as through this reports will be made informing all the competent Services.

Regarding the pillars of the National Strategy, Ms. Anthoussi said that the first concerns the education and training of teachers and the identification of cases dangerous for committing a crime. The second focuses on the education and training of professionals, with the Undersecretary noting that 114 Social Services Officers and 90 Institutional Officers were trained in recognizing child sexual abuse. The third pillar concerns the treatment of incidents and the continuation of the supervision of the operation of the Children's Home by the Social Welfare Services and co-competent Services.

Honorary plaque to Zeta Emilianidou

The Minister of Labor, Zeta Aimilianidou, was honored yesterday by the "Foni" Council for her great contribution to the elaboration of the National Strategy for the Fight against Sexual Abuse of Children and to the assistance she provided for years to the work of the bodies involved. The honorary plaque was presented by the president of "Foni", Anastasia Papadopoulou, focusing on the good cooperation of both the ad hoc Committee that was initially created, and with the Council "Foni", with the Minister. It is noted that now the implementation of the National Strategy has been transferred from the Ministry of Labor to the Undersecretariat of Social Welfare.