The law office has decided to suspend prosecution of a 35-year old mother who had been arrested on suspicion of leaving her three children aged 13, seven and 23 months alone in order to go to work.
The decision was announced on Twitter by attorney general Yiorgos Savvides and his deputy Savvas Angelides on Wednesday.
“After studying all the facts of the case and the actions of the state to support the family, it was decided by the attorney general and the deputy attorney general to suspend prosecution of the mother who is accused of neglecting her underage children,” it said.
The woman was arrested after a member of the public found her seven-year-old daughter playing alone in a park in Limassol’s Omonia area on Sunday afternoon. Unable to find her parents, he took the child to the closest police station.
Μετά από μελέτη όλων των γεγονότων της υπόθεσης και των ενεργειών της Πολιτείας για στήριξη της οικογένειας, αποφασίστηκε από @SavvidesGL και @AngelidesSavvas η αναστολή ποινικής δίωξης της μητέρας που κατηγορείται για παραμέληση ανήλικων τέκνων.
— Attorney General's Office CY (@LawOfficeCY) December 9, 2020
Following investigations, police located the house of the girl where they found her two siblings – a 13-year-old and a 23-month-old – also alone.
The woman was initially arrested as police examined a case of child endangerment. She was due to appear in court on December 15 to answer charges for neglect. Welfare services were informed, and the children put in the care of their grandparents.
The news prompted Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis to reach out to the woman. In a tweet on Monday, she said: “No mother chooses to go to work and leave her minor children at home alone. She does it out of despair [or] out of great need.”
The minister said she spoke with the mother and added the state will intervene to support her.
Yiolitis on Wednesday was quick to welcome the law office’s decision.
Εκφράζω την ικανοποίηση μου για την αναστολή της ποινικής δίωξης της μητέρας από τη Λεμεσό. Ευχαριστώ για της γρήγορες ενέργειες που έγιναν από @ZetaEmilianidou και @SavvidesGL @AngelidesSavvas. Ευελπιστώ η συμφιλίωση εργασίας και μητρότητας θα γίνει κατορθωτή στον τόπο μας https://t.co/3hQxDYGwm1
— Emily Yiolitis (@emilyyiolitis) December 9, 2020
“I express mu satisfaction at the suspension of the prosecution of the mother from Limassol. I thank (Labour Minister) Zeta Emilianidou, Savvides and Angelides for their quick actions, I hope that reconciling work and motherhood will be achieved in our country,” she wrote.
The social welfare services had been instructed to look into the woman’s socioeconomic situation and their report was to be included in the file of the case sent to the legal service with recommendations for the suspension of charges against the woman.
The incident brought to light a common problem for single mothers who work hours when schools are closed, said head of the one-parent families’ association Argentoula Ioannou.
“We receive many complaints from women who have nowhere to leave their children,” Ioannou said, as private and public nurseries close at 6pm.