Statement by Evanthia Savva, Head of the Social Policy Sector of AKEL on the sexual abuse of children in Cyprus
18 November 2021, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
Yesterday’s announcement by the Commissioner for Children’s Rights is shocking. According to data filed every 27 hours a child is sexually abused in Cyprus with the number of complaints reaching 324 for 2020 and 241 just in the first half of 2021. The numbers recorded over the last two years are much higher compared to previous years which demonstrates that the restrictive measures to address the pandemic have trapped children in abusive environments, far away from places where they were able to report the abuse and seek help.
All the relevant authorities, bodies and agencies are called upon to take coordinated and sustained action to safeguard the interests of children, both with regards the prevention of sexual abuse and during all stages of the complaint investigation process, addressing the long delays in the adjudication of cases. Substantive measures are demanded to provide support towards victims and their families.
The top priority must be the introduction of scientifically based and pedagogically adapted sex education at all levels of schools. Sex education is a right of every child and a valuable means of empowerment and self-protection for children, and thus the most important instrument for the primary prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation.