Cases of domestic violence in Cyprus increased by around 30% during the 20 months of the coronavirus pandemic, President Nicos Anastasiades said during a fundraiser organised by the Association for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (SPAVO).
Addressing the gala at the Presidential Palace to mark the 30 years of the Association, Anastasiades said that Cyprus has not escaped the EU-wide trend of increasing domestic violence incidents.
He noted that according to data from the European Commission “it appears that in the period of the past 20 months there is an increase in domestic violence”.
“It is also worrying that in our country in particular, the incidents of domestic violence increased by about 30%,” the president added.
Anastasiades said that the government has contributed more €750,000 towards putting an end to domestic abuse incidents.
He said that legislation introduced following the Istanbul Convention in 2017 on the prevention of violence against women “make clear the zero tolerance for any form of violence against women and their dependents”.
Anastasiades added that the cabinet has approved the creation of the Women’s House, which has been operating as a pilot since last December, providing shelter to women who have fallen victims to abuse, along with their children.
Acknowledging SPAVO’s 30-year contribution to victims of domestic violence, especially of women and children who are most affected, the President said that the association has gathered a well-trained interdisciplinary team accompanied by a significant number of volunteers focused on protecting victims.
He added that the government’s contribution to combating domestic violence will continue with initiatives, such as information campaigns, as well as the training of professionals and social groups in the prevention and response to incidents of domestic violence.
Anastasiades said that the government would continue to support the work of the association both financially and with promoting legislation to end domestic violence.
In recent comments to the Financial Mirror, SPAVO director Andri Andronikou, said that lockdowns imposed in the time of coronavirus have dramatically pushed up incidents of violence against women in Cyprus with a 40% rise in calls seeking help from SPAVO in 2020.
The increase in cases has been attributed partly to women being forced to confine themselves at home with their abusers, due to restrictive measures introduced to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“Home confinement, new working conditions, financial insecurity, the limiting of social contact, gives perpetrators the ‘opportunity’ to impose the dominant role that they think they have over women” explained Andronikou.