Cyprus Mail

Sex education a crucial tool says activist

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Sex education is a crucial tool in combating sexual abuse as it can give children the help they need to recognise the risks at hand and know how to tackle them, a children’s rights activist said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, chairwoman of Foni (Greek for ‘voice’) tasked with implementing the national strategy against sexual crimes against children, Anastasia Papadopoulou said she met the education minister a day earlier where they discussed how the sex education law passed in parliament last year could be implemented.

There have been delays in implementing sex education but there has also been progress, because almost all teachers and school inspectors have been trained.

Primary schools are the immediate focus of the strategy, with the matter being taught during health class.

“We discuss the rule of underwear, good and bad secrets. We know that to some extent this is happening, which is why children have spoken out during this class, as they realised something bad had happened.”

In lyceum, sex education is taught in home economics classes. For gymnasium students, the plan has yet to be set in stone.

Nonetheless, Papadopoulou warned there has been almost no progress on special education “where we’re talking about even more vulnerable children.”

Nonetheless, this is all being tackled in the plan that the education minister is working on.

Meanwhile, Hope for Children NGO said it was participating in an EU wide campaign aimed at encouraging member states to prevent child sex abuse online.

The figures of child sex abuse material online has spiked across the EU from one million in 2014, to over 20 million in 2021, the NGO stressed.

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