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Parliament Adopts Important Amendment to Child Protection Act

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.06.12.

On Tuesday, parliament adopted an amendment to laws on the statute of limitations for pedophile offenses, the pedophile register, and the parole of pedophile offenders, in order to protect children. Most provisions of the legislation will enter into force on July 1.

From July 1, the Criminal Code will stipulate that there is never a statute of limitations for sexual offenses committed against children under the age of 18. A person who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment to be carried out for an offense against the freedom of sexual life and sexual morality committed against a person under 18 years of age, cannot be released on parole.

The current rule on the exemption from criminal record disqualifications has been maintained: those sentenced to really serious imprisonment of more than five years can never be exempted from criminal record disqualifications.

It will now also be stipulated in the Criminal Code that the President may not exercise his right of individual pardon against a convicted person who has committed a sexual offense against a person under 18 years of age.

In the future, in addition to persons convicted by Hungarian courts, the register of pedophiles will also contain the details of Hungarian citizens convicted of similar offenses in other EU Member States or the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, reintegration detention will no longer be possible for convicted persons who have committed a sexual offense against children.

The legislation also provides for a psychological aptitude test and an unblemished criminal record for managers of child protection institutions and for professional staff. If a person receives an unfitness rating in the psychological aptitude test, they cannot be employed and their employment must be terminated immediately.

A check on unacceptable behavior may be initiated during employment if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned has exhibited unacceptable behavior.

The law has made this check the responsibility of the National Protection Service, the police’s internal crime prevention and detection body. The sanction in the case of unacceptable behavior is the same as for a psychological examination: the legal relationship must be terminated immediately.

First Tightening of Requirements for Heads of Child Protection Institutions in Effect
First Tightening of Requirements for Heads of Child Protection Institutions in Effect

Besides state-run children's homes, non-state institutions will also soon be covered.Continue reading

The amendment has made it obligatory for members of the child protection referral system to inform the authorities of any high risk cause of concern for the children in their care, such as sexual or physical abuse, or neglect of a child. Failure to do so is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment.

With regard to camping, it is stipulated that children can only be supervised by a person who has an official certificate of good conduct stating that he or she is not registered as a criminal offender for an offense committed against a minor, is not subject to criminal proceedings, is not banned from working, or is not under compulsory medical treatment. This provision does not apply to children participating in the organization of camps and will enter into force at the beginning of next year.

The legislation extends the scope of children’s rights to include education to ensure conscious and responsible use of the internet and media. A new element in children’s obligations is that they must respect the human dignity of other children when exercising their freedom of expression.

The amendment will make it easier to report and remove content that violates the privacy rights of minors, including cyber-bullying.

The income threshold for the entitlement to regular child protection benefits for children of needy families has been increased from the current 165% of the social projection base (HUF 28,500 / EUR 72.20) to 225%. For children brought up by a single parent, children with a long-term illness, with severe disabilities, and children of full age, the maximum social security contribution rate has been increased from 180% to 245%. The income threshold for dependents unable to support themselves has been increased to 150% of the minimum wage less contributions.

In addition, the age limit for library users to be exempted from paying library subscription fees has been raised from 16 to 25 years.

Mobile Phone Use Could Be Restricted in Hungarian Schools
Mobile Phone Use Could Be Restricted in Hungarian Schools

France, the Netherlands, Italy, Slovakia, and the UK have already taken decisive action.Continue reading

Via MTI, Featured image: Pixabay

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