Courts tackling more child sex abuse cases

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An increase in sexual abuse and exploitation of children has reached alarming levels resulting in more cases before the courts, said Deputy Attorney General Savvas Angelides.

Angelides was speaking at a training seminar for Law Office officials on how to better present criminal cases involving sexual abuse and exploitation offences with vulnerable witnesses as victims.

Angelides said regular training of state prosecutors who may come into contact with vulnerable witnesses is even more necessary “given the alarming levels of increase in sexual abuse and exploitation of children in recent years.”

“This has resulted in the registration, unfortunately, of a significant number of cases before the Assize Court and district courts,” he added.

“The child victim of sexual abuse and exploitation is not an ordinary witness, but a vulnerable witness who needs protection and should be treated as such.”

The President of the National Strategy for Combating Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography Council, Anastasia Papadopoulou, argued that justice is served when accepting that not everyone is the same.

Papadopoulou said there had been significant improvement in handling such cases by the Law Office, both in their evaluation and the sensitivity with which child witnesses are treated.

Senior Counsel of the Republic, Elli Papagapiou, said this training aims to better present criminal cases concerning offences of sexual abuse and exploitation of child victims and an improved approach to vulnerable child witnesses by prosecutors. (source CNA)