Cyprus Mail

Underage sexual abuse reports on the rise

Police last year received 139 complaints relating to sexual crimes against minors and more are expected this year, according to the head of the force’s special unit tasked with investigating such offences.

Until January 2017, investigation of domestic abuse cases was conducted by officers in respective districts. Since then, a five-member unit based at the headquarters in Nicosia has taken over such cases.

Costas Veis told the Cyprus News Agency that the number of cases published before that date concerned prosecutions relating to sexual abuse of minors.

That number was 74 in 2016, he said, whereas the number of complaints is estimated to be 110.

According to police statistics, authorities prosecuted 77 cases in 2015, 56 in 2014, 37 in 2013, 42 in 2012, and 32 in 2011.

Between 2004 and 2015, the number of sexual abuse cases involving minors rose to 492.

Veis said such cases were now investigated in close co-operation with a recently-opened centre that handles sexually abused and exploited children.

The centre was officially opened on Wednesday but the two sides have been working together since last September on a trial basis.

Veis said it was now easier for those affected to report an incident, adding that they are receiving many complaints, even of cases where the complainant was now an adult.

Reports of historical cases are made every year but in 2017 there were more than previously and authorities were expecting them to raise further after the operation of the centre, he said.

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