THESSALONIKI – Domestic abuse soared 34.5 percent during the height of Greece’s economic crisis from 2014-18, with 4,722 cases reported, two-thirds of them against women, the head of the Hellenic Police (ELAS) domestic violence department said.
That was a jump from 3,512, Christos Dimitrakopoulos, who works the office from Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki, said at an event as part of a nationwide campaign.
Officers distributed leaflets and spoke to the public about domestic abuse and human trafficking, ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on Nov. 25, reported Kathimerini.
To mark the occasion, women’s rights groups held a rally in central Athens on Nov. 23 while on Nov. 25 several town halls will be illuminated in orange light. In Thessaloniki, representatives of the municipal shelter for abused women will be at Aghias Sofias Square at noon, offering support and advice.
Data from the General Secretariat for Gender Equality for 2018 showed that, 81 percent of the 4,116 calls made to its hotline were to report domestic abuse: 70 percent of those, or 2,846 calls, were from women who were victims of violence in their homes, with the remaining 1,252 calls made by friends, relatives or neighbors of the victims.
Of the 2,846 women who called the 15900 hotline, 87 percent said they were being abused by their husbands, and 64 percent were mothers whose children were witnesses to the violence.
In 2017, there were 3,134 cases of domestic violence reported in Greece involving 4,243 victims, Greek Police (ELAS) spokeswoman Ioanna Rotziokou told the Athens-Macedonian news agency in March. “Women account for 70 percent of the victims,” she said.
Violence was verbal, physical or sexual, and was occasionally fatal. “Sometimes the tragic outcome of these domestic situations is even death, with the number of female fatalities twice that of men,” she said.
In 2013, a study conducted by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality showed a 47% increase in cases of domestic violence against women in Greece.
At the opening ceremony of the new Women’s Support and Consultation Center in Kavala in March, Vaso Kollia the then-General Secretary for Gender Equality said domestic violence can come in different forms, for example financial blackmail, sexual humiliation, injuries or even rape. She said: “Violence against women is present and undeniable,” and continues.
The Safety of Women: Penal Mediation in Greek Domestic Violence Legislation panel at the United Nations on March 12 traced the historical development of domestic violence legislation and highlighted global perspectives on legal reforms and judicial responses as a part of a comprehensive approach to address domestic violence.
The panel also reviewed provisions of the Penal Mediation clause in Greek law and discusses how VIA-STOP, a nonprofit NGO based in Kavala, implements this national program to protect women and children.