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Calls to domestic violence support line soar in 2017

Calls to a support line for victims of domestic violence jumped by almost 50 percent in 2017, non-governmental organisation Spavo said on Friday.
During a press conference to launch the annual international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Spavo said that the victim support line they operate -1440 – has received 11,634 calls so far this year.
More than nine in ten victims of domestic violence in Cyprus during the first half of this year were women, 14 of them pregnant, the NGO added.
The support line has been operating round the clock since the beginning of the year after receiving monetary support from the justice ministry.
The international campaign aims to challenge violence against women and girls and runs every year from November25 – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – to December 10 – Human Rights Day.
According to Spavo, during the first half of 2017, 91 per cent of victims of domestic violence were women. More than six in ten of these women were living with their abusers, while 73 per cent of them have children. Over a quarter were unemployed. Spavo did not provide numbers of victims.
The chairwoman of Spavo, Kiki Poyiadji, stressed the importance of training teachers and other professionals that come in contact with victims of domestic violence.
Spavo she said, aims to train professionals and organisations that come in contact with children and victims of violence through the European programmes SAFER and STEP4GBV, which it sponsors, and the programmes CIRCLE OF CHANGE and VOCIARE, in which it participates as a partner.
“The aim is twofold; initially the detection and prevention of all forms of violence by educating teachers and parents. Then children should receive help to get rid of old social stereotypes and replace them with the principles of respect and gender equality,” Poyiadji said.
In his address, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said that combatting every form of violence is a top priority for his ministry which will continue and intensify efforts to prevent and clamp down on violence and punish perpetrators. At the same time, he said, the justice ministry is reinforcing actions to protect and empower victims.
It is encouraging, he said, that over the last few years there has been an increasing in reports of all forms of violence, which means that women are more informed and feel encouraged to step up and put an end to the problem they are experiencing.
He added that the increase also shows that state policies supported by civil society on the prevention and suppression of violence and the protection of victims, ‘are beginning to bear fruit’.

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