The Children’s House, established to handle sexually abused and exploited children, was inaugurated by President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday.
With its wide holistic range of psychological, social and rehabilitation support services, it is one of just three such facilities in Europe.
The building in Nicosia was donated by the Association of Greek Women ‘Enosi’ whose administrative committee also offered €330,000 for repairs.
It will be managed by NGO Hope for Children CRC policy centre and staffed with six professionals and two external associates, supervising psychologists. Under the same roof will be services from the Cyprus police, social welfare department, the mental health services and the medical services.
The Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance will be responsible for monitoring and financing the operation of the building.
“The Children’s House has been designed on the basis of the Icelandic model ‘Barnahus’ and focuses on the interdisciplinary and interdepartmental approach, ensuring cooperation between the various stakeholders in a child friendly environment, which offers holistic services for the child and its family under one roof,” said an announcement by Hope for Children.
At the ceremony Joseph Varughese, head of the NGO, said the innovative project is of paramount importance to the organisation as it falls under the national action plan to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation and child pornography.
Anastasiades said that while eliminating sexual abuse and exploitation of children was the ultimate goal, as long as such incidents happen, the state had the moral responsibility to deal with them and ensure that all children can a grow up in a secure environment.
He added that the House of the Child “clearly demonstrates the priority we have set for promoting and safeguarding the rights of the child and, in particular, for supporting a wider framework of global support for any child subject to violence.”