The government will continue to support the work carried out by Hope For Children CRC Policy Centre in 2023 by earmarking some €1.2million as it did in its 2021 Budget, President Nicos Anastasiades said at the NGO’s ‘Give Hope a Hand’ charity dinner event on Monday evening.
Anastasiades pointed out the NGO’s positive role in the formulation of a national strategy for the protection of children from sexual exploitation, abuse and child pornography, which he said has led the island to become a model of good practice cited by the Council of Europe.
“What I would like to emphasise with particular satisfaction is that Hope for Children is a valuable advisor and arm in the implementation of a policy that has led, among other things, to the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, the so-called Lanzarote Convention, as well as the harmonisation with the relevant European Union Directive,” Anastasiades said.
He added that it has also led to the implementation of a national strategy for children’s rights in the health sector and the preparation of the national action plan “Guarantees for Children”, which is in its final stage, as a holistic approach to meet the needs of children in education, health and social participation.
The organisation has also been vital in the promotion of legislation to modernise family law and other child-focussed legislation to bring about improvements across the whole spectrum of family law, Anastasiades said, and the creation of the institution of mediation in family disputes, which is expected to help reduce conflict between parents, achieve consensual approaches and improve communication between family members.
In the same direction, reforms aimed at establishing a child-friendly justice system, including the creation of a special detention facility for children aged 16 to 21, are also aimed at the same goal.
“Unfortunately, bureaucracy and many other factors have postponed the implementation of this objective, but what pleases me is that the relevant tender has been launched and it is only a matter of a few months before it is implemented,” the president noted.
Among the many initiatives brought about by the NGO, Anastasiades also highlighted the creation of the Children’s Home, as a specialised protection centre, with over 1,230 children so far having received or receiving support, as well as the 2016 creation of a school and social integration programme called ‘Drasi’ was introduced in 131 schools for the integration of pupils with a migrant biography, with a total expenditure of €23 million euros so far.
“I am confident that the State will continue to stand by the important work you are doing,” he concluded.