POLITICS

Legal overhaul pledged to tackle abuse

Legal overhaul pledged to tackle abuse

In the wake of a recent barrage of sexual abuse allegations in the world of Greek theater and sports, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised in Parliament Thursday to introduce tougher sentences for such crimes, changes to statute of limitation rules and a government agency to deal with workplace abuse.

Among the measures envisioned are a special register for professionals who come into contact with children and adolescents, with strict registration requirements. It will concern professionals such as sports coaches and workers at holiday camps and refugee structures. The register, which Mitsotakis said is something “all serious countries” have, will operate in cooperation with the Justice Ministry and the Hellenic Police.

Moreover, a new central structure in the General Secretariat for Family Policy and Gender Equality will be set up for the evaluation of abuse cases and for out-of-court settlements. 

Regarding the workplace, mandatory codes of conduct will be established for companies, while the possibility of suspending alleged perpetrators until the case against them is investigated will also be introduced.

Finally, the sex education program is being extended to cover all schools, starting in September.

In addition, the government has set up a new portal, metoo.gov.gr, where victims will be able to submit complaints via live chat. The platform, when fully operational, will also provide information on issues of sexual harassment, abuse and power-based violence, what avenues of recourse are available and links where victims can seek help.

The government Thursday also took aim at main opposition SYRIZA for not submitting its own proposals on how to tackle sexual misconduct and limiting itself to attacking Culture Minister Lina Mendoni over her handling of the rape allegations against the former director of the National Theater. It also bemoaned that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras failed to condemn Pavlos Polakis and other party MPs who spoke of a government ring providing cover to pedophiles.

Tsipras appeared unfazed in his response and made reference to a “guilty secret” that connects the prime minister with the culture minister. As for accusations regarding the comments by SYRIZA MPs, Tsipras said “he will adopt very clear distances from all vulgarities in public discourse.”