A domestic violence helpline saw calls rise by 30% between March 9, when the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Cyprus, and March 17, the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family said.
The Association said that the unfolding of the coronavirus outbreak and the accompanying call to stay home has created fruitful ground for a surge in domestic violence.
Between March 9 and March 17, the 1440 helpline received 750 calls, including five requests to be moved to a shelter and four requests for personal counselling.
“Isolation as a measure to prevent and tackle the spread of the Covid-19 virus can at the same time act as a tool in the hands of perpetrators to increase the frequency, intensity, and danger of violent against women and children,” the Association said.
It added the mandatory restriction of movement, along with the requiring women to remain shut indoors with perpetrators, also isolates women from their professional life and social support.
The Association also said that isolation as a coronavirus protection measure may also lead to loss of jobs for women, who have been called to stay at home and perform motherly duties which tradition has ascribed to them following the closure of schools islandwide.
Children are also increasingly vulnerable to cases of domestic violence as they too are confined inside the house the abuser.
The Association said the helpline will continue to operate on a 24 hour basis, to provide support, information, guidance, and empowerment.
Shelters for survivors and their children continue to operate in Nicosia, Limassol, and Paphos, and are taking all necessary measures to protect those they are hosting as well as staff.
“To be isolated with a violent person is dangerous. Going outside may not be recommended but you are not forbidden to leave and seek help,” the Association stressed.