Over 1,500 cases of family violence were recorded in Cyprus last year while 7,769 calls were made to a helpline, indicating that abuse victims felt more confident about asking for help.
According to psychotherapist Nasia Savva, programme director at the association of prevention and tackling of violence in the family, 1,511 cases were recorded in 2015 and 7,769 calls were placed to the outfit’s helpline, 1440.
The association also held 514 consultations.
“In general we are seeing a rise in phone calls and requests – this however doesn’t necessarily mean violence is on the rise, but that people feel more confident in contacting us and asking for help.”
The association also provided refuge for around 20 women and children but lack of space prevented them from meeting all requests for accommodation. Men were also included in the victims, she said.
“Our reception centre hosted nine women and 13 children in 2015,” Savva said. “The number might seem low, but the reason is there were only three rooms and the women stayed for a long time.”
The victims were referred to the centre by the police and the welfare office, though in some cases they called the helpline and asked for refuge themselves.
“The refuge affords an environment where trust and the feeling of security is built gradually and assistance is given to the person to draw on their own power and withstand the situation they are going through,” Savva said.
The association will soon be getting a new, modern reception centre that can host more people. The centre, scheduled to be inaugurated by the president on September 8, will provide full security to over 20 people at a time.
The services are free of charge, Savva said.
“Part is covered by the government but we also receive funds from various European programmes and the public in general.”
The building cost around €1 million – Norway Grants covered €742,000 and the rest was paid by the government, OPAP (betting organisation) and the association’s funds.