Chidren Protection Policy
The objective of the Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare is to safeguard children’s well-being and children’s rights. The scope of action of the MHSW Department involves primarily professionals working with children. At the same time, in the context of child protection strategies’ development, research or prevention and intervention measures that may be taken, may directly engage children. Pursuant to its goals, MHSW adheres to the four general principals of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is committed to safeguard all rights of children as stipulated therein. Therefore, all children without distinction of any kind, having their best interests taken as a primary consideration, having their life and survival secured, having their opinions heard in all matters that affect them, shall enjoy protection and receive appropriate care at any phase or way the Department and its staff, permanent or temporary, are operating affecting children.
Preventing children’s harm and promoting the beneficence and protection of children are prerequisites of any action coordinated or implemented by the MHSW. To this end, MHSW has developed the national Protocol for the Investigation, Diagnosis and Management of Child Abuse and Neglect to be followed by all professionals within the welfare, education, justice, law enforcement and health sectors in Greece. Above all, the Department and its staff act pursuant to this Protocol, in case of reported or suspected child abuse or neglect case. Concomitantly, professionals working with and for children nationwide are receiving appropriate trainings to broaden and ensure the Protocol’s application. Staff of MHSW consisting of a number of professionals, namely social workers, psychologists, psychiatrist, lawyer, work-therapists, child-care providers and administrators, all adhere to specific codes of conducts as provided by law or operate according to general legislation. Within the national legal framework, any act that harms or endangers a child is a crime (Greek Penal Code, Code of Penal Procedure, Combating domestic violence Act (L. 3500/2006)). The MHSW has developed a legal index containing all provisions relevant to child maltreatment. Professionals recruited by the Department are safely selected and must follow the Organisation’s policy. Furthermore, in every project or programme where vulnerable population, and here including children, are directly involved, concrete guidelines are developed for all parties to respect and implement, taking into account the special needs of this population and potential risks that may arise when engaging them.
See also (in Greek) Protection Policy and Procedures for Preventing and Fighting Sexual Abuse