The coronavirus outbreak has brought about a disturbing surge in cases of domestic violence in Cyprus, with the 1440 helpline receiving over 2,000 calls between the date of the confirmation of the island’s first coronavirus case and March 31.
In a recent press release, the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Family Violence said that of the 2,075 calls received by the domestic violence hotline since coronavirus broke out on March 9, the association could only respond to 921, with the remaining 1,154 calls remaining unanswered as the helpline had often been flooded with calls.
“In a period of just 23 days, 15 requests had been made to be transferred to shelters, while 12 women had requested personal counselling and 230 had reported cases of family violence, corresponding to over 10 cases per day,” the Association said in a statement.
“These calls regarding domestic violence are definitely maintaining a highly-concerning upward trend, which mirrors the rising degree of danger against women and children brought about by the new restriction measures.”
In fact, according to experts from the Domestic Violence Association, these measures are now being used as a tool in the hands of perpetrators. New abuse tactics range from:
- Withholding means of personal protection including antiseptic liquids, masks, and medicine.
- Withholding or using children as a means of exercising psychological violence.
- Flouting protective measures and exposing women and children to an increased risk of contracting the virus.
- Forcing women into excessive uses of personal protection measures, sometimes until they bleed or form wounds.
- Obstructing women from seeking medical and other help in cases where they develop symptoms.
Are you the victim of any of the above in Australia? Contact 1800 RESPECT.
The Association stressed that it continues to provide help to people in Cyprus through the 1440 helpline, teleconferences and other forms of contact, while shelters remain in full operation.