Reports of domestic violence in Limassol have doubled in the past six months, since the introduction of a dedicated taskforce operated by the city’s police department, according to Limassol police spokesperson Lefteris Kyriakou.
He said a total of 500 official complaints of domestic violence have been filed in Limassol alone since the start of September 2020, when the taskforce was first introduced.
In comparison, 2018 saw 445 reports of domestic violence for the entire year, with 418 registered during the first eight months of 2020.
The pandemic, with more people forced to stay at home, has been widely linked to an increase in domestic violence.
“We can safely assume that the spike in complaints has something to do with people locked in the same house for months,” Kyriacou said.
“However, in order to confirm this, we would need to carry out dedicated studies on the matter, which we haven’t yet.”
Out of the 500 reports filed in the last six months, 224 concern people who have a criminal record.
“When we introduced the team, it consisted of eight people, all specialised in dealing with cases of domestic abuse and all properly trained,” Kyriacou said.
“However, due to the sheer volume of complaints, we had to expand the team to 10 members in order to properly address the situation.”
Along with the pandemic, a major reason for the spike in the number of reported cases, he said, is because complainants are now aware of the existence of a dedicated force who will deal with their cases in complete confidentiality.
Kyriacou added that, out of the 500 reports, 109 have been forwarded to the Limassol district court, while 88 are still being investigated by the police. He also said that the welfare office is aware of every single complaint filed to the authorities.
In the last six months, 103 people were arrested for domestic violence. To date, four people have been convicted, two of which are now in prison.
The majority of reported cases have women as the victims, 448, compared to 52 complaints filed by men.
Kyriacou added that 10 cases regard minors who have reported their parents.
“The special team dedicated to domestic violence is working tirelessly to face the increasingly difficult situation, despite it being relatively small,” Kyriacou said.