Despite efforts to combat it, the number of children referred for investigation of sexual abuse has remained consistently high for the past two years, with over 400 cases reported annually, Hope For Children said on Monday.
“Despite the undeniable progress recorded in recent years in various areas concerning the protection of children’s rights in Cyprus, the data recorded by HFC, continue to be a cause for concern,” HFC said.
“It is indicative that for the past two years, the number of children referred for investigation of sexual abuse remains consistently above 400, while the housing and restoration needs of unaccompanied children continue to be urgent”.
The data, HFC added, demonstrate the need to upgrade support programmes for children.
It said that in 2022 a total of 439 children were referred for investigation into sexual abuse at the Children’s House, a number that remains high despite it being lower than the 483 children referred in 2021.
“Every day we witness the spread of child violence and abuse. Today, violence against children can occur in any context,” Executive Director of HFC, Andria Neocleous added.
Coordinator of the Children’s House Tania Masia said that although the 2022 data is still being processed it appears the percentage of cases criminally examined last year and children who underwent psychological evaluation is higher than in 2021.
According to their Child Protection Department officer Katerina Melissari the majority of children accommodated in the shelters are aged 13 to 17.
In 2022, HFC supported 231 approved foster families (couples or single individuals) across Cyprus, while 101 cases are under evaluation. Overall, approximately 162 children in foster care. The number of available families increased by approximately 50 per cent in 2022.
For more information about Hope for Children CRC Policy Centre, call 22 103234 or visit www.uncrcpc.org.cy