“Never before were women and children qualified for such protection”, said Monika Balatoni, the Minister of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, together with Ildikó Pelczné Gáll, the representative of the governing party FIDESZ in the European Parliament at a joint press conference in Budapest this Friday. Balatoni emphasized that protection of women is closely tied to protection of children and a number of measures have been taken specifically to protect children and minors.
In this regard, the Minister of State mentioned the development of child-friendly hearing rooms the first line. These rooms are equipped with video and audio recording devices, so it is enough to listen to a child just once rather than the six to eight times of the past. Monika Balatoni explained that each county did put such a special room in operation; there are places where even more than one is available. She added the government would like to install more in the future. In connection with the series of measures taken, Monika Balatoni said that the period of limitation for crimes committed against children will be increased from July.
So far, 23 years was a timespan under which an abuse-case procedure was able to run; in the future this limitation is extended till the child grows to maturity, so that even at the age of 26 one may institute a proceeding. It will be indicated in the criminal record if someone was convicted for committing criminal offense against a minor. She explained that this measure is to ensure that someone who was held liable in such a case will never get in professional contact with children ever again.
Touching on measures regarding the media, Monika Balatoni said that till September 2014 all public educational institutions must obtain the software which prevents children from accessing aggressive or pedophile content on the Web. This software can be accessed by schools free of charge, as well as those families who wish to install it at home. Monika Balatoni pointed out that during the last parliamentary term the left-wing parties not only have not participated in the debate on child protection laws, but they vote against it..
The legal protection of women and children has never been so strong in Hungary; the government has taken several significant steps over the past three years in order to protect them, said Ildikó Pelczné Gáll. She added though that the completion of legal protection is a process which has not yet reached the end, but there are some partial results, pointing on the extra child care fee as a success story. Speaking of the measures taken so far, she said that the amendment of the Penal Code made marital violence a separate statement of crime, which is much more securing and an opportunity for abused women who are in need. She further reported that with an additional four, the number of crisis centers was increased to nineteen and these facilities are always available.
The politician of the European Parliament pointed out the Istanbul Convention, which also protects those who have been abused and Hungary expressed its intention to join. The first parliamentary session is expected to ratify this treaty after the elections in April, said Ildikó Pelczné Gáll. Monika Balatoni and Ildikó Pelczné Gáll also emphasized that it is not enough to create legislation just to protect the abused, but a broader, more holistic approach is needed.