Violent incidents against women rise 30%

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According to the Justice Ministry, cases of violence against women reported to the police have increased by 30% in 2021, compared to last year.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Ministry of Justice issued an announcement reaffirming its commitment to combat domestic violence.

It acknowledges the serious impact of gender-based violence on the lives of victims; the Justice Ministry added that “violence against women or domestic violence is not a private matter”.

“On the contrary, it is the duty of every active citizen to immediately inform the competent authorities when such incidents come to their notice.”

The ministry said violence against women violates fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and security.

“It can cause physical, mental and emotional damage to women who suffer from it and can even lead to death”.

The Republic of Cyprus has ratified the Council of Europe International Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention.

In this context, the ministry has drafted two very important bills to criminalise stalking and violence against women during the last two years, which were approved in April.

“These two laws, in parallel with the enactment of the law to combat sexism, the creation and operation of the ‘House of Women’, the establishment of special police departments for combating violence, have significantly strengthened the network of support, empowerment and protection of victims.”

The ministry is proceeding with the creation of a National Coordinating Body to combat domestic violence.

“This body is expected to undertake the creation of a Unified Archive for the collection of statistics on gender-based violence, systematic training of professionals involved in handling cases of violence, and actions to inform and raise public awareness.”

In recent comments to the Financial Mirror, SPAVO director Andri Andronikou said coronavirus lockdowns 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 is attributed partly to women being forced to confine themselves at home with their abusers due to restrictive measures introduced to stem 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,” said Andronikou.