DATA on domestic violence against women is disheartening, with 22 per cent of Cypriot women having experienced physical and or sexual violence, while 39 per cent have been psychologically violated against by former or current partners.
The data was presented by Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou on Friday marking the start of this year’s 16-day-campaign against gender-based abuse which ends on December 10.
“According to the latest island-wide research findings by the Advisory Committee on Preventing and Combating Domestic violence in 2012, nearly 60 per cent of women victims of violence don’t report the incident to anyone,” Nicolaou said, referring to an EU-wide survey conducted by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in 2014.
Since the justice ministry introduced a number of measures, he said, there are more women who file complaints of violence against them.
“Women in Cyprus now feel more informed, encouraged and have somewhere to turn safely to put an end to their problems,” he noted.
He added that the ministry cooperated with the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (APHVF) for the elimination of violence against women and in June 2015 the government signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.
Since then, the ministry has taken steps to comply with the convention’s provision, such as preparing a bill for the criminalisation of harassment and stalking.
Last April, a special training seminar on violence against women was organised to educate and raise awareness of violence professionals, where keynote speakers were American experts in this area, Nicolaou said. He added that the police has recently submitted a proposal to obtain funding under the European Programme on Violence against Women with which they aim to perform information actions at the national level.
On her part, APHVF president Kiki Pogiatzi said the association received 6737 calls during the first nine months of 2016, and noted that by the end of the year the calls will be evaluated and categorised so that there is a breakdown for the nature of each call.