A Children’s Home, where minors who are victims of abuse or sexual exploitation can file complaints and receive support, is expected to be opened by early 2018, lawmakers heard on Monday.
Speaking in parliament, Disy MP Stella Kyriakidou said the home will not be used as a shelter for children, but rather as a single point for filing and processing cases.
In Cyprus, Kyriakidou said, when a child claims sexual exploitation, he or she may have to relate their experience seven or eight times to different state agencies before the case can proceed to court.
By contrast, the Children’s Home will provide all necessary infrastructure under one roof, including full-time psychological experts and police officers.
The goal is to provide proper support and discretion, Kyriakidou said.
The home will operate in cooperation with the ‘Hope for Children’ NGO.
The site has been selected, and the building itself is expected to be ready by this December. It will be located in Nicosia.
Also on Monday, the ministry of labour unveiled to MPs a bill providing for a panel to monitor and coordinate the actions of the national strategy combating sexual abuse and exploitation of minors and child pornography.
The council will comprise nine members, with the chairman appointed by the cabinet. Five of the members will come from state agencies, the other three from NGOs.
In addition, the legislation establishes an inter-ministerial committee for overall policy-making.
Opposition MPs welcomed the bill, but said its budget was too restricted to be effective.
In July 2014 the House passed the passed the Prevention and Combating of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography Law, the provisions of which in essence harmonised Cypriot law with European Directive 2011/93 / EU and the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the ‘Lanzarote Convention’.
The Lanzarote Convention was formally ratified by the House on June 1, 2015.