Attorney General orders probe into teen suicide

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Attorney-general Costas Clerides has appointed two independent investigators to probe circumstances that led to the suicide of a 15-year-old boy last September after a critical report blamed police and social services.

A written statement issued by the state Legal Service on Monday said Clerides has appointed two lawyers Modestos Poyiadji and Andreas Andreou to look into Stylianos Constantinou’s death.

Investigators have been given two months to complete their inquiry.

The probe follows a damning report by human rights commissioner (Ombudsman) Maria Lottides who found that police and the social welfare service had failed to recognise the psychological violence the father exerted on Stylianos and the pattern of violent behaviour towards his mother.

Clerides said based on the report’s findings there was a possibility that a criminal offence had been committed by some individuals.

Lottides found “criminal negligence in applying the procedures, directives in place as officials had shown complete disregard for them”.

Four social welfare workers were suspended for “exhibiting criminal negligence” while handling the case of the 15-year-old boy who ended up taking his own life after years of suffering domestic violence.

She noted that the tragic event could have been prevented if textbook procedures were followed.

Lottides argued in her report that the lion’s share of responsibilities laid with the Social Welfare Services, noting that they failed to assess the risk regarding both the physical and psychological violence taking place within the child’s family.

She said this was a case in which no action was taken from officials from 2013 until 2019, referring also to the police.

No action was taken when the child had attempted to end his life in the past, “because social workers exhibited complete indifference and failed to assess the risk. As a result of their failure to assess the case, the child was not given any specialised support”.

Lottides also found that police had acted with negligence as they received more than 20 reports claiming the father had been abusing the child but did nothing.

The father had even been found guilty of hitting the child in a court of law.