The Hope for Children CRC Policy Centre (HFC) provided services to more than 8,340 children in Cyprus in 2023, the organisation said on Tuesday, reviewing its work for the past year.

HFC Executive Director Andria Neokleous said that child protection can only be achieved through cooperation and active commitment.

The organisation stressed that the positive results achieved in 2023 also had to do with the cooperation and funding from the social welfare services, the European Commission, and support from the wider business sector.

The event focused on the organisation’s island-wide child protection programmes, its Children’s House and helplines providing psychological, social and legal support services for children and families.

The organisation also helps families cover their basic needs, matches host families with unaccompanied children and provides specialised services for foster families, while also arranging educational activities in schools.

At the same time HFC is involved in research and policy-making actions relating to children’s rights.

During the event, three young ambassadors spoke about their experience working with Hope For Children and what they have gained from participating in the organisation’s educational programmes.

A highlight of the year was the Crystal Scales of Justice award, given to Cyprus by the Council of Europe following a joint nomination by Hope For Children and the Cyprus Judges School.

The award was given for the Kids in Court Game (KiCGame), which involves preparing children (vulnerable witnesses) for their participation in judicial proceedings.

This innovative tool was created in collaboration with Hope For Children, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Nicosia.

The organisation finally outlined its priorities for 2024, which are centred towards expanding its services and functions while developing its collaborations with the private sector for financial support.

Aside from growing to cover more areas outside of urban centres, the organisation is hoping to address issues at high-risk schools and tackle sexual violence in sports.

Another goal is to develop more programmes addressing internet use by children.