By Maria Gregoriou
THE advisory committee for the prevention of family violence has expressed shock and outrage at Monday’s murder-suicide where a husband killed his estranged wife and then himself, saying it could have been avoided.
The incident happened in Limassol when a 32-year-old man shot and killed is 27-year-old wife with his army issue assault rifle, injured his ten year old daughter on the hand, and then took his own life.
According to a statement from the committee the 27-year-old woman had requested protection from the police after her husband had allegedly threatened her several times.
“Police claim that these complaints were never given in writing, hinging an investigation into the case to begin,” the statement said.
The committee is convinced that the incident could have been avoided if the police and other relevant services had applied the legislation and procedures approved by cabinet.
Referring to a circular from the attorney-general entitled ‘complaints concerning violence in the family,’ the committee made it clear that no written statement is needed to get the wheels of justice turning.
“The circular states clearly that the officials of the labour, health and education ministries, and the police have been instructed to act immediately, and no later than seven days after receiving a complaint, to submit a report to the attorney-general’s office,” the committee said.
In a reply to the statement, Commissioner for Children’s Rights Leda Koursoumba said that on several occasions she has raised the point that the relevant legislation has significant weaknesses and problems.
The committee suggests that the services to do with violence within the family should be informed and be education on the relevant legislation and procedures to be followed in such cases.
“It is imperative that the legal obstacles or procedures that hinder the work of professionals be resolved as soon as possible so we do not mourn any more victims,” the statement added.
Koursoumba also suggested that processes to do with the interest of children should be evaluation and modernized on an ongoing basis.
“Training of professionals should also take place so that they can better serve the interests of children,” Koursoumba said.