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12° Nicosia,
20 July, 2024
 
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Domestic violence cases on the rise in Cyprus

Justice Minister announces ''red button'' app and increased police resources in response to surging incidents

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Reports of domestic violence in Cyprus have seen a significant rise, with incidents reaching alarming numbers, Justice and Public Order Minister Marios Hartsiotis told a parliamentary committee on Monday.

Speaking before the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, Hartsiotis revealed that in 2023, police recorded 3,010 incidents of domestic violence. The trend has continued into 2024, with 1,588 cases reported in the first half of the year alone.

SPAVO, the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family, reported managing 4,000 cases of violence against women and domestic violence in 2023. The rise in incidents has prompted the introduction of new measures to combat this issue.

By February 2025, the "red button" application will be available to the public, Hartsiotis announced. This app is designed to provide immediate assistance to individuals in danger of domestic violence. The app will be launched on a pilot basis by the end of September 2024, running for three months before its full implementation.

The committee meeting also addressed the recent femicide in Paphos district, which has raised concerns about police response and coordination. An investigation into the femicide revealed that calls made to the police prior to the crime did not receive appropriate responses. Hartsiotis noted that disciplinary actions will be taken against specific police officers based on the investigation’s findings.

"The Police must intervene immediately and effectively," Hartsiotis emphasized, calling for coordinated actions at all levels to address domestic violence.

Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou stated that handling domestic violence cases varies across police departments. He assured that the number of officers dealing with these cases will increase with new recruitments.

Despite existing protocols and legislative frameworks, parliamentarians pointed out a lack of coordination between relevant services. SPAVO officer Andri Andronikou highlighted the organization's financial struggles, noting that only 10,000 euros remain in their funds. She called for support from welfare services and the Ministry of Justice, mentioning that operating the direct support line costs 250,000 euros, while the Ministry provides only 10,000 euros.

As domestic violence cases continue to rise, the government’s introduction of the "red button" app and increased police resources aim to provide better support and protection for victims. However, effective coordination and adequate funding remain critical challenges in combating this pervasive issue.

[With information from CNA]

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