Greece: children's charity facing abuse claims

The Greek child protection organisation Ark of the World is mired in an abuse scandal. Following an initial complaint, several more people have come forward in the past few days and accused the NGO of sexual abuse, beatings and draconian measures at its children's facilities. The organisation has denied the allegations. The national press calls for fundamental reforms.

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Strict rules needed

News website In criticises the lack of supervision at the private child charity organisation:

“It looks like there were never any internal controls at the charity, and certainly no state supervision, despite experts' having repeatedly stressed the clear need for a systematic state presence in private organisations - in addition to financial support. This case also shows the importance of applying strict rules to the establishment and running of a 'home' for minors. And it highlights the need to finally replace the 'simple' solution of structures [homes] with a new system of care and adoption.”


Harmful effects known for decades

Giorgos Nikolaidis, psychiatrist and head of the mental health department at the Institute of Child Health, writes in TVXS:

“According to UNICEF statistics, every child placed in an institution has about an 85 percent chance of being physically abused (again). ... The harmful effects of all institutions on children have been documented for decades. That is why in most developed societies and in almost all European countries, one institution after another is being closed down, with the aim of abolishing them altogether. In our country, on the other hand, we still hear that children have 'found a family' in such institutions.”