Statement on publicly reported cases of violence against children in Greece
Attributed to Aspasia Plakantonaki, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Greece Country Office
ATHENS, November 11, 2022 – “UNICEF estimates that globally one billion children endure violence every year. Left unaddressed, violence, whether experienced or witnessed, can undermine a child’s emotional, psychological and cognitive development and contribute to the intergenerational transmission of violence.
The cases of violence against children publicly reported in Greece in recent months, including instances of sexual exploitation, physical violence and bullying, should be understood as a mere fraction of the unreported, unrecorded, and unmonitored violence against children in Greece and across the globe.
Such cases should serve as a reminder of the need for a centrally coordinated mechanism for data collection and must catalyze immediate action for systemic change in the way all stakeholders in Greece, led by the state as signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, work together to prevent, monitor and respond to violence against children.
Article 19 of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children have a right to protection from violence, understood as “…all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse”.
The prevention of violence is of paramount importance in building a protective environment for all children. This includes scaling-up evidence-based violence reduction strategies, increasing investment in family and parenting support, and tackling the social and behavioral drivers of violence.
To this end, UNICEF Greece continues to work closely with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Deputy Ombudsperson for Child Rights, the National Rapporteur for Human Trafficking and a number of other state and independent entities to enhance evidence generation, support first responders of local authorities, responsible for the timely and accurate identification of victims and survivors of child abuse, raise awareness on hidden forms of violence, and strengthen prevention and response mechanisms. Our team is also working closely with the National Coordinator for the Protection of Children Against Abuse and Exploitation in anticipation of the implementation of the National Action Plan.
UNICEF Greece remains fully committed to supporting the Greek state, local and relevant actors in strengthening prevention and response mechanisms and eliminating all forms of violence against children.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Greece, visit www.unicef.org/greece.