Support of the Operation of the Child Safety Care Unit – “Sophie Varvitsioti”, Athens General Children’s Hospital “P. & A. Kyriakou”

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - ELIZA was founded in 2018 with the sole purpose of protecting children who have suffered or are at risk of suffering abuse or neglect. All ELIZA’s actions aim to prevent, deal with, treat and remedy abuse nationwide. In this context and following ELIZA’s initiative, the Child Safety Care Unit – “Sophie Varvitsioti” of the 2nd Paediatric Clinic of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) was founded at the Athens General Children’s Hospital “P. & A. Kyriakou”.

The new Unit is the first specialised hospital department in Greece for the identification, examination and interdisciplinary treatment of infants and children with abuse or neglect symptoms, as well as for the protection of vulnerable families. In accordance with international standards, the Unit possesses a clinic that is appropriately configured and equipped, suitable for the examination and monitoring of infants and children suspected to be victims of abuse or neglect, as well as a meeting area and workplace for all professionals involved in their treatment. Furthermore, in collaboration with different specialists, innovative educational programmes are performed through the Unit, as well as information sessions and other activities for the support of children and their families, which take place within and outside the Hospital.

Having as a priority the support of social welfare activities through the reinforcement of institutions that possess the know-how and capacity to intervene when it comes to child protection issues in Greece, the Latsis Foundation supported ELIZA’s initiative by covering the remuneration of a university scholar – paediatrician for one year, in order to contribute to the Unit’s daily operation. The scholar’s role is crucial as, among other things, he assesses and manages cases of possible child abuse under the supervision of the Head of the Unit, he acts as the communication channel between the Hospital’s physicians and the relevant professionals involved in an abuse/neglect case (e.g. social workers) and he contributes to the identification and support of vulnerable families.

  • In 2019, the cases examined where there was a suspicion of severe neglect increased by 100% compared to the previous year, while 15 cases of suspected sexual abuse were examined.
  • The average hospital stays of the children decreased through the operation of the Unit to approximately 1/3rd, as the hospitalization duration was 13 days in 2019, from 30 in 2016.


“All children deserve a childhood based on safety and protection. At ELIZA, every day we try to change the lives of vulnerable children that are in danger or have been victims of abuse and neglect. Our valuable partnership with the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation enables us to plan and implement pioneering initiatives in Greece, such as the operation of the 1st Hospital Unit for abused children, which create multiple benefits for the entire society. Our collaboration fills us with optimism and faith, as we find valuable allies for our work with whom we share the same vision for our world’s future, which belongs to our children.”

Aphrodite Stathi

Executive Director, ELIZA


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