National action plan launched to battle domestic violence in Cyprus
The Government in Cyprus launched a National Action Plan against domestic violence last week to develop a national strategy and coordinate the overall approach taken by the state in battling the phenomenon.
There were 1,067 recorded incidences of domestic violence in Cyprus last year.
“I wish to underline that despite everything done to recognise and address domestic violence in Cyprus what was missing was a national strategy to combat domestic violence in Cyprus and this is what we are announcing today,” said Sotiroulla Charalambous, the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance.
The legal structure already in place in Cyprus to deal with domestic violence has been repeatedly rated as one of the best internationally, according to many European organizations. In particular it is praised for its inclusive approach which provides for the protection of victims, the punishment of those responsible and therapy for those who have been involved in incidents of domestic violence.
“It is very important when a woman has experienced domestic violence for there to be therapeutic programmes that she can join to help her overcome the incident and develop,” said Charalambous.
Charalambous went on to say that domestic violence usually arises due to socio-economic problems which tie in to the relationship situations of a couple. She said that “violence is about power in a relationship” and emphasised that Cyprus, as a state, was using all the international tools at their disposal “to combat this phenomenon”.
The provisional figures for 2009 record 1,067 incidents of domestic violence in Cyprus, the majority of which are against women, though many involve children also. The incidence of domestic violence against men, whilst they are not excluded from consideration as potential victims, is very low.
In practice, the National Action Plan was originally formulated to coordinate government policy over the time period 2008-2013 but was only recently approved by the Cabinet on December 3 2009. An analytical process will now follow to formulate how the ministries and departments will work together interactively on the issue and to decide which provisions within the plan are the most essential. It is these most essential items within the Action Plan which will be included in the 2011 budget to secure financing to carry them out.
There are already mechanisms in place to address the problem of domestic violence in Cyprus and the state infrastructure is not starting from zero on this matter. “We are improving the mechanisms and tying them into a coordinated, strategically designed, spherical whole,” said Charalambous of the new Action Plan.