The majority (75%) of victims of family violence, intimate partner violence and abuse of minors in Cyprus are girls and women, based on statistics by the Police Headquarters' Directorate for Vulnerable Persons Affairs.
According to the statistics, there has been a steep increase in the number of complaints, from 2020 onwards, and especially after the opening of local offices of the Family Violence Unit. During 2021, the Units in question handled a total of 3,362 complaints, while in 2022 they handled approximately 3,200 complaints.
Specifically, in 2021 an increase of 45% was recorded compared to 2020. A steep increase was recorded also in the number of arrests in 2021 and 2022 for criminal offenses of this type.
CNA, on the occasion of International Women's Day, marked on March 8 every year as a day of commemoration of the struggles of the women's rights movement, came into contact and discussed the issues related to violence and abuse of women with the Director of the Sub-Directorate for the management of cases concerning vulnerable persons, at the Police Headquarters, Senior Officer and Criminologist, Kyriaki Lambrianidou.
March 8, Lambrianidou, said, is celebrated to remind us of the struggles and revolutionary acts of many women, so that all women can be treated equally and enjoy the same rights as men.
She noted that the Istanbul Convention, which was signed by the EU in 2017 and is now a binding legal instrument for all EU member states, is perhaps the first legally binding international text that sets criteria for the prevention of gender-based violence and the protection of women from this type of crimes. Based on international studies, she added, it is proven that one in three women has suffered some form of physical or sexual violence or even both.
She also said, that, based on the above, the Cyprus Police has taken measures with the aim of recognizing and managing the gendered element of violence, the need to protect the victims and the management of the inequalities caused by violence against women. These include the establishment of the Sub-Directorate for the Management of Vulnerable Persons Cases at the Police Headquarters, the creation of district Family Violence Units, modifications to the protocols used and other “tools” used by the Cyprus Police for the purpose of investigating crimes, such as violence against women, violence in the family, rape, sexual harassment and abuse, etc.
She also said that the Juvenile Delinquency Management and Missing Persons Management Branches, supervise the work carried out by all the Police Directorates so that the actions are coordinated and based on the existing provisions and protocols.
At the same time, Lambrianidou said, the Cyprus Police, through their competent department, is educating and raising awareness on such issues both among the public and the members of the Police force.
Consequently, Lambrianidou said, the “revolutionary” measures taken by the Cyprus Police, in the last three years at least, have borne fruit, by creating a friendly environment, so that victims can more easily make complaints to the Police while the management of these cases is being handled directly, as is evident from the increase in complaints, “which also demonstrates the public's trust in the Police”.
She added, however, that, certainly, we should create the conditions that support and favor such “revolutions”, but also be able to think revolutionary, like so many women, remembering the reasons why we celebrate this particular day. What is required is respect and safety, she said.