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Proposal to make femicide a distinct criminal offence

Εκλογή νέου Προέδρου της Βουλής τω
House president Annita Demetriou

House President Annita Demetriou on Wednesday presented a proposal to make femicide a distinct criminal offence punished by life imprisonment.

Demetriou said the proposal basically changes the description of the offence but did not change anything as concerns penalties.

She said the killing of women on account of their gender is the most extreme form of gender violence, and the amendment made visible a social reality lawmakers can no longer ignore or conceal.

“A big leap for women’s rights is made today, in bolstering human rights and tackling the phenomenon of femicide, which is on the rise, especially after the arrival of the pandemic,” she told the House legal affairs committee.

The objective of the proposal is to amend the penal code to establish femicide as a distinct offence, punishable with life in prison.

According to the proposal, the murder of women or girls under 18, is an act attributed, among others, to domestic violence, sexual violence, honour reasons, religious beliefs and the practice of genital mutilation, that goes unpunished in most cases, reinforcing the perception that violence against women is an acceptable and unavoidable phenomenon.

It is also widely admitted that it is a form of discrimination that violates the principle of equality.

The proposal says femicide is the death of a woman as a result of violence by a partner, torture and misogyny, honour and religious reasons, genital mutilation, sexual orientation, co-dependent relationships which create vulnerability, violence to achieve intercourse, domestic violence, and being singled out in armed conflicts.

Demetriou said the proposal basically changes the description of the offence but did not change anything as concerns penalties.

Between 2010 and 2016, there had been 28 cases of femicide, with 75 per cent being the result of domestic violence.

Between 2019 and 2020, there were 13 femicides, including two children. The majority of the perpetrators were male Cypriots.

According to data presented at the committee, last year, 2,147 cases of domestic violence were reported, 880 relating to women.

In addition, 407 women reported threats against their life, 322 suffered violence with the use of an object or firearm, and 129 women reported strangulation attempts.

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