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Justice ministry failing children caught up in custody battles, MPs hear

Two committees set up by the justice ministry have failed to provide recommendations on bringing family law up to speed to resolve problems scores of children suffer in divorce custody battles, the House Human Rights committee heard.

According to chairman Sophoclis Fyttis, the justice ministry set up a committee comprised of Supreme Court and Family Court judges, lawyers and a representative from the Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

Their job was to review current family law and update it in a way to respond to today’s demands and needs by the end of January, providing concrete proposals on how to do so, AKEL’s Skevi Koukouma said.

Additionally, a second committee of academics was supposed to submit their findings on the same matter by the end of February, however they have also failed to do so, she added.

“All authorities and sociologists have told us they will submit proposals and we, as a (parliamentary) committee asked that this matter proceeds quickly. There is misery, problems between divorced or separated parents for the children, their supervision, parental custody,” Fyttis said.

This is the second or third time deputies have discussed the matter and there are dozens of instances where one parent doesn’t allow the other parent to see the child, or disputes between the adults result in children becoming the victims, he added.

“We have written letters to the justice and health ministries to cooperate and find solutions. In parliament, the law for intervention in family cases is pending discussion at the House legal committee. There are recommendations for creating a family intervention centre. There is another suggestion for creating a home in cases where there is domestic violence.”

These proposals did not come from any committees but other bodies, Koukouma said.

Fyttis stressed the importance of having a family intervention centre “which will greatly benefit in reducing the problems between ex-spouses, children’s parents. Already there is a terrible delay in the matter and we expect new parliament will discuss this situation.”

 

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