Domestic Violence Against Women in Greece Soars During Pandemic

ATHENS – Following reports of rising femicide – a woman a month being killed on average, incidents of other types of domestic violence are going up in Greece during the COVID-19 pandemic, most cases in the first nine months of 2021 than all of 2020.

Addressing the online event Abuse and Social Perceptions, organized by AID-Alternative Innovative Development and the Women’s Political Power, Deputy Minister for Demographic Policy and Family, Maria Syregela, noted it.

Up to September, a total of 5,857 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the police, more than the 5,413 throughout 2020 and 5,221 cases in 2019, said Kathimerini, figures which have gotten the attention of the government.

Syregela, pointed out that there are 43 counseling centers offering free legal, social and psychological support to women victims of violence and offering job support as many can’t find work, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA.)

At the event, AID presented a survey conducted on a sample of 252 people, some 83 percent of them third-level graduates, 80 percent with a Master’s Degree.

The survey found 82 percent of respondents considered bodily harm and 87 percent  non-consensual sexual intercourse to be harassment and abuse although that seemed evident on its face.

Almost half of the respondents (122 people) stated that they had been victims or witnesses of abuse or harassment but only 30 of them filed a complaint without an explanation from the others why they didn’t.

At the event, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted that it was a symbolic opportunity to make changes and be aware that this violence happened behind closed doors and to “break them, together with the silence that surrounds it.”

“The trauma of every woman is the trauma of every society, every country,” Mitsotakis added, noting that the #MeToo movement gave many women the courage to come forward and report their abusers but that “many still hesitate,” said Kathimerini in a report.

“We call on them to also find the courage, to go to the authorities, to not bow their heads and put up with violent actions and behaviour. They will have our support and that of all of Greek society,” he said.

He said his New Democracy government has in the last two years activated 73 special services in the Hellenic Police for dealing with domestic violence, with many police officers trained to deal with such incidents, such as opening six pilot departments for dealing with domestic violence in Alimos.

He also referred to the 24-hour phone line at SOS 15900 where victims  can ask for help and advice, the 43 counseling centres around the country where women can find support, 19 women’s shelters where they can find safe haven and also special programs to find employment for abused women.


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