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[Hungary] "My mum told me to endure what my uncle is doing to me"

13 May 2017

The article presents the first Barnahus in Hungary, established in the Western city of Szombathely, providing child-friendly environment for children victims of sexual abuse. Dr. Györgyné Lázáry, court psychologist, is one of the founders of the center. 

Currently in Hungary child victims are being heard not by specially trained psychologists, but by investigators, judges, prosecutors, who have no experience in therapy or in trauma treatment. In most cases, children are only the subject of the judicial process, and this process re-victimises them. It would be ideal if the criminal law required that only specially trained experts could interview children victims under 14 - but for the moment the number of these experts is very low in the country. Dr. Szilvia Gyurko also mentions that Hungary has never built a coherent strategy for child-friendly justice and only certain elements have been introduced from the program of the European Council, like the child-friendly hearing rooms - but without the training of the professionals. 

The Szombathely Barnahus provides an exception to this reality, even if only in a small, local scale: children here are welcomed in a friendly environment, by well trained professionals, and they are only heard once, which testimony is being recorded and witnessed by both the judge, the prosecutor and the defence lawyer. Also, therapy of the child starts immediately. Until there are no well-trained experts who can conduct child-friendly forensic interviews, there is no point in establishing more Barnahus in Hungary. 

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