Infrastructures for abused children and women should be available in all districts, Deputy Minister for Social Welfare Anastasia Anthousi said on Monday during a visit of the House human rights committee at the Children’s House and the Women’s House in the capital.

During the tour of the facilities, MPs and relevant officials were updated on how these structures operate and recorded operational problems.

Anthousi highlighted the importance of multidisciplinary support for children who have been victims of abuse as well as the need to speed up procedures “because if there is no early intervention the child may be a concern for social welfare services,” she said.

“Improvements should be made,” Anthousi said, mentioning as an example the issue of forensic examination and how it can be made more child friendly.

On the Women’s House, the deputy minister said the general policy is that where there are services that are complementary to the state, funding will continue with appropriate performance indicators and proper oversight.

A relevant proposal will be submitted to the Council of Ministers to renew the funding of the structure after December 2022, she added.

After the visit at the facilities, the chairwoman of the committee Akel MP Irini Charalambidou praised their work and said the committee is looking to strengthen the protective framework for abused children and women.

“Our aim is to jointly try to create an even more protective framework through amendments to the legislation, but also through proposals for new data,” she said.

Ruling Disy MP Rita Superman said the two structures “set an example of coordination of services,” but noted the need for improvement.

“Some individual actions need to be taken, such as the technical infrastructure that should be given to the courts so that audio-visual statements of children can be taken in other districts besides Nicosia,” she said.

The children’s house provides services to children who have been sexually abused as well as their families. It was established within the framework of the National Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation and Child Pornography 2016-2019.

The Women’s House has been operating on a pilot basis over the last two years, catering to all women and girls who have suffered violence, including sexual or psychological violence.

Victims of physical and/or sexual abuse can also receive a medical examination and be referred to Gesy doctors for long-term treatment and medical care while they may also give a statement and an audio-visual statement to the police from the shelter.