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Cyprus sees 19 femicides in four years

femicide

There were a total of 19 femicides in Cyprus between 2019 and 2023, Mediterranean institute of gender studies director Susana Pavlou said on Monday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), she decried the lack of research on and recognition of the issue, saying “femicide is an under-researched topic” across Europe.

She explained that femicide is “the intentional killing of women motivated by gender”, and that it “is not only the most extreme manifestation of gender-based violence against women, but also the most violent manifestation of discrimination and inequality against them.”

On the matter of research, she said “data on femicide is not formally or systematically collected in the European Union, and we lack cross-national tools to study the phenomenon.”

She added that “harmful attitudes, behaviours, and stereotypes, as well as a lack of understanding of things such as the gendered dynamics of femicide of intimate partners, hinder prevention methods.”

With this in mind, a project by the name of Fem-United, co-financed by the European Union, has been created with the aim of improving institutional responses to violence against women.

The project covers five European Union member states – Cyprus, Malta, Germany, Spain, and Portugal. Pavlou said the project “aims to improve the response to cases of violence against intimate partners and domestic violence, to reduce harm against women, and to prevent femicide.

In addition, she said, the project aims to generate data with the hope of effecting policy changes.

She said that one of the first challenges Fem-United faced was the fact that data collected on femicides are not comparable between different countries, as different police forces and court systems have different definitions of femicide and different statistical frameworks.

For this reason, she said, “a key priority and objective of the project was the development of two data collection tools; one for quantitative and one for qualitative data collection.”

Having created such a framework, it was discovered that in Cyprus the majority of femicides occurring in Cyprus took place against a backdrop of domestic violence.

In addition, it was discovered that the majority of victims are not Cypriot nationals, while the majority of perpetrators are. The perpetrator was subsequently convicted of murder in the majority of cases.

Regarding measures taken in Cyprus to combat femicides, Pavlou said that while a legal framework exists to implement restrictive measures in cases of domestic violence, “there is no data available to ascertain the number and type of measures taken.

“Therefore, it is not possible to assess their prevalence or effectiveness in protecting victims or preventing further violence, including femicide.”

She added that there is no information available on whether restrictive measures are being effectively monitored or on the actions undertaken by the police or by other relevant authorities to ensure compliance with the measures taken.

Additionally, she said that despite the fact that women of non-Cypriot origin are disproportionately impacted by violence and femicides, “these people are not specifically addressed in national action plans, rendering them invisible at a policy level.”

“Overall, national action plans do not mention or foresee actions to combat violence against migrant women, women with disabilities, single parents, or other vulnerable groups of women,” she said.

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