THE link between drug use and domestic violence is complex and strong, and international studies suggest that 61 percent of those who commit domestic violence are also either using or abusing substances.
When a 14-year-old girl was found unconscious on Wednesday in the centre of Nicosia after using drugs, and a mother who allegedly attacked and injured her eight-year-old child was reported to be under the influence of drugs, a debate got underway on the necessity to provide better support and protection for minors by the state.
The latest figures on Cyprus show an increase in underaged children reporting that they have been a victim of violence in their own family.
The police findings reveal that a total of 895 minors, 408 boys and 487 girls, reported being the victims of bodily, sexual or psychological violence in their family from 2012 to 2016. While women are traditionally the largest group of victims, 63.65 per cent of the population, a further 16.82 per cent of the victims were children.
The number of complaints by minors rose from 2012, where it stood at 149, of whom 58 males and 91 females, to 183 in 2016, 95 males and 88 females.
These are only the reported cases, with studies suggesting that a great number of victims, especially women and children, don’t speak out.
On Thursday, President Anastasiades said he was shocked by the media reports. He noted the cabinet recently approved the creation of a shelter dedicated to provide comprehensive support, guidance and protection for juvenile drug users.
Children’s Right Commissioner, Leda Koursoumba, who has repeatedly called for the creation of closed facilities to offer minors a comprehensive rehabilitation programme, brought up the subject again in the wake of this week’s reports.