The New York-based Greek America Foundation announced its fulfillment of a $5,000 grant to the ELIZA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, an Athens-based charity which aims to protect children suffering from abuse and neglect.
The grant comes as part of the foundation’s #ChildrenOfGreece campaign which has sent $35,000 to five Greek children’s charities since 2019.
ELIZA’s initiatives focus on educating and mobilizing society to act against the maltreatment of children. The organization also works to detect and identify cases of child abuse in order to encourage public action on behalf of abused children.
ELIZA’s programs are designed in cooperation with institutions in Greece and abroad. Through such collaborations, ELIZA has provided training for 5,000 professionals who work with children including teachers, physicians, nurses, judges, prosecutors and police officers.
In collaboration with the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, ELIZA created its “Safe Touches” program which teaches children ages five to nine how to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
Another one of ELIZA’s initiatives is creating special hospital units dedicated to managing cases of suspected child abuse.
Thanks to the organization’s efforts, the Child Safety Care Unit “Sofia Varvitsiotis” of the Second Department of Pediatrics of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was founded at the “P. & A. Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital in Athens. The unit was inaugurated by then-Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on June 5, 2018, and is the first hospital-based child protection unit in Greece.
ELIZA is now in the process of creating the second hospital unit at the ATTIKON General University Hospital under the guidance of the Third Department of Pediatrics. The goal of these units is to identify infants and children at risk of abuse and neglect — at the youngest possible age — and to safeguard vulnerable families.
The Greek America Foundation’s $5,000 grant to ELIZA comes at a time when child abuse remains a prominent issue in Greece.
According to research, nine out of 10 cases of severe child abuse are not recorded by Greek authorities which results in no action; one of every two children has been the victim of at least one incident of physical abuse and one of five children has been the victim of sexual abuse.
ELIZA has received public recognition for its work, including in November 2020 when the Greek Parliament projected the organization’s message of “Zero Tolerance of Child Abuse” on its exterior. The projection was part of ELIZA’s national public awareness campaign which will continue through 2021.
The organization has also been recognized as a Country Partner by the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect.
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