COVID-19 Lockdown Saw Domestic Violence Soar on Cyprus

Αssociated Press

A man wearing a mask walks along Ledra Street, a busy shopping thoroughfare in the medieval center of capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Thursday, May 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Mostly stuck in their homes during a long lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus led to growing incidents of domestic violence with people essentially trapped with each on Cyprus.

The number of cases rose across the island, including the northern third occupied by Turkish-Cypriots after an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion, the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Gender Equality found, the Financial Mirror reported.

“Isolation, alongside health and economic problems that pile up, caused globally an upsurge of violence against women and girls. The same is true for the whole of Cyprus,” said a statement from the committee.

The report found cases among the Greek-Cypriot community side jumped 58 percent during the lockdown, from mid-March to April 22 as measures were beginning to ease to let people get out more and some businesses to reopen.

“In the Turkish-Cypriot community, the situation is even worse, as calls on helplines increased up to 10 times since the lockdown,” the report added, the committee finding there weren’t enough shelters for victims with social distancing requirements in place.

The lockdown was essentially a trap for women locked inside with abusers as the report noted that, “Social isolation is a powerful weapon used by abusers to perpetuate their cycles of violence by controlling and limiting the partner’s access to the outside, robbing them of support networks and reinforcing feelings of despair.”