Violence against women

The issue of violence against women has been and continues to be a political priority of the Government. The Government’s goal is to provide immediate and effective services to victims of violence. A milestone in addressing this problem was the government’s announcement in January 2019 of the creation of the “Home for Women”. In particular, in the context of the implementation of the obligations arising from the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), which the Republic of Cyprus ratified by Law in November 2017, the Council of Ministers has approved the implementation of the creation of the “Home for Women” by Decision no. 88.585 dated 27/11/2019.

According to a Decision of the Council of Ministers, the Ministries of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, Justice and Public Order, and the Ministry of Health, constitute the Ad hoc Ministerial Committee that supervises / approves the work of the Technical Committee chaired by the Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family, which is also the Coordinator of all actions for the implementation of this project. It is noted that the management of the “Home for Women” was entrusted to the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family, fully funded by the State Aid de minimis Funding Scheme of the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare.

The Home for Women has been operating on a pilot basis since the 1st of December 2020 as an interdisciplinary Centre, friendly to victims of violence, where professionals from various areas of expertise, such as Clinical Psychologists, Social Workers, as well as specially trained members of the Police, work under the same roof / structure to provide protection and specialised support to victims and their families. All women (and their minor children) victims of violence have access to the Home for women, without any discrimination.

A Social Services Officer from the Social Welfare Services was posted at the Home for Women from the very beginning and functions, among other things, as a liaison officer between the Home for Women and the SWS.

Interdepartmental management is the key element of the Home for Women, and it essentially transforms into practice the "one shop" approach/philosophy, according to which all services involved are located and are being coordinated under the same roof, in order to be able to manage each case effectively.

For the purpose of complying with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), the House of Representatives voted the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and Related Matters Law of 2021 (L.115(I)/2021).

Within the framework of the above legislation, violence against women and domestic violence have been criminalised, and protection, guidance and support are provided to women victims of violence in all its manifestations and forms, with the aim of supporting and empowering women in order to cope with the violence they are subjected to. At the same time, gender is placed at the core of the regulatory framework, with the sole aim of protecting it, and a wide range of actions and measures for prevention, effective protection of victims and prosecution of perpetrators of violence have been included in the legislation.

The Social Welfare Services, within the framework of the Legislation, have an obligation to ensure the provision of free and confidential support services to victims, information about possible compensations to which they may be entitled to, and information about their own role in the criminal procedure, information about the existing special support services and referring them to such services, and providing emotional and psychological support, housing and financial support.

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