Cyprus police are currently working on 16 sexual harassment and abuse reports, three of which were filed over the past ten days alone.
Eleni Constantinou, an officer with the police’s communications branch, said Thursday that depending on developments that arise through evidence and statements to be collected, law enforcement officers will move forward with procedures set out by law.
Constantinou said that so far, seven have been referred to trial, one is in the hands of the Republic’s law office, while the remaining eight are at different stages of investigation.
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis urged people who have been sexually abused or harassed to find the courage to come forward and report their cases to the authorities.
Yiolitis met the assistant to the chief of police and the head of the force’s sexual crime squad, as well as actor Andreas Phylactou who told a television interview earlier this week that he had been sexually harassed by a director.
Yiolitis said sexual harassment concerned everyone, irrespective of gender, age and sexual orientation, but the numbers were lower for men because they did not find it easy to report it.
“Unfortunately, social stereotypes have a negative effect and often don’t allow men to be the victim,” the minister said, stressing the need to break these stereotypes.
Yiolitis called on all those who wrote to her anonymously about their experiences to file official reports, stressing that “Police cannot investigate anonymous complaints. I want the help of each one of us to lift the perpetrators’ protection.”
The Minister said the dramatic increase in the number of reports is encouraging, especially now that the police now has specialised units to handle such cases.