THE CAMPAIGN
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Fact sheet
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Task Force
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Campaign blueprint
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Campaign material
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National campaigns
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National contacts
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FAQs
 
 
RESOURCES
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About domestic violence
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Council of Europe recommendation
bullet point Protecting Women Against Violence
Analytical study on the effective implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states
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Stocktaking study on the measures and actions taken in Council of Europe member states (2006)
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Other resources
MEDIA
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Press brief
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Press releases
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Press review
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Speeches
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Interviews
EVENTS
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Launching Conference
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Regional Seminars
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Other events

Final Cyprus Report on Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence

LEGAL AND POLICY MEASURES

National Action Plan for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family
The Advisory Committee has completed the final draft of a National Action Plan for the Prevention and Combat of Violence in the Family, which will be submitted to the competent Minister. The House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women lends its support for the adoption of the Action Plan.

The proposed Action Plan has the following strategic goals:

    o To monitor the problem of violence in the family;
    o To prevent the phenomenon of violence;
    o To inform and enlighten the public and professionals using various means such as special conferences, educational programs and seminars;
    o To monitor the effectiveness of services and the enforcement of relevant legislation;
    o To protect the victims of domestic violence;
    o To coordinate and evaluate the actions plan’s implementation

Manual of Interdepartmental Procedures
In order to safeguard the rights of the victims, the Advisory Committee has drafted a Manual of Interdepartmental Procedures, which was submitted to the government and approved on 16.05.2002 by the Council of Ministers, for immediate implementation. The manual provides a framework of how professionals should collaborate and focuses on interdepartmental cooperation. It is addressed to those who work in the Social Welfare Services, the Police Force, the Health Services, the Education Services, the Law Office of the Republic and the relevant NGOs.

On the 9th October 2007, the Advisory Committee organised a consultation workshop on the “Improvement /Revision of the Manual of Interdepartmental Procedures” in which professionals from all the relevant Ministries and NGOs participated. Based on their evaluation and recommendations, the “Revised Manual of Interdepartmental Procedures” will be drafted and submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.

The House of Representatives
On the 23rh November 2006, the House of Representatives launched the Council of Europe Campaign. The President of the House of Representatives delivered a speech in the Plenary Session of the House on that occasion.

On the 24th November 2006, the President of the House of Representatives, chaired a special meeting attended by Ms Sotiroulla Charalambous, Chairwoman of the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, the Minister of Justice and Public Order and Representatives of Women Organisations. During the meeting there was a thorough exchange of views on relevant problems and also on further action that needed to be undertaken to combat violence against women.

On the 7th February 2007, the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women organised an exchange of views on a plan of action by the House in keeping with the criteria of the Council of Europe Campaign. The Committee decided to organize 1) a public event on 1 March entitled “No to violence against women” and 2) a meeting on the occasion of International Women’s Day in the plenary session of the House, with statements delivered by the President of the House of Representatives and all political party leaders. The President of the House immediately approved and supported the decisions taken by the Committee.

On 8th March 2007, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the President of the House of Representatives and all political party leaders delivered speeches, during the Plenary Session of the House, related to this Day and on the issue of violence against women. Officials, including the Minister of Justice and Public Order and representatives of Women’s Organizations, were invited to attend this Plenary Session.

The European campaign has initiated various discussions on the House of Representatives concerning issues of domestic violence, including violence against women. One very important issue that was discussed on the House Standing Committee on Legal Affairs was the delay observed concerning the procedures that are followed for investigation and trial of domestic violence and child sexual abuse cases. The issue was discussed under the section 15 of the Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims) Laws 119(I)/2000 and 212(I)/2004.

On the 5th June 2007, the Chairwoman of the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, and Contact Parliamentarian, Mrs. Sotiroulla Charalambous, MP, participated in a Joint meeting for the Contact Parliamentarians and the national focal points, which was held in Strasbourg. During this meeting Mrs. Charalambous, delivered a speech on the issue of “Multi – Agency co- operation to combat violence against women (The Parliamentary Perspective). The national focal point, Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Domestic Violence, also participated in this meeting.

SUPPORT AND PROTECTION OF THE VICTIMS

Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance - Social Welfare Services
The social aspect of the problem is dealt with the appointment of specially trained welfare officers as Family Counselors. According to the law Family Counselors have the following responsibilities:

    o Receive complaints of violence and carry out investigations;
    o Advise, counsel, and mediate any problems in the family that are likely to lead to, or have led to, the use of violence;
    o Make arrangements for an immediate medical examination of the complainant;
    o Take all necessary steps for the commencement of criminal proceedings against the perpetrator;
    o Carry out investigations into the accommodation /financial affairs of the family and the perpetrator, if an inhibition order is being considered;

In order to encourage people to report cases of violence against children Family Counselors accept anonymous referrals and they are obliged to investigate it within 24 hours.

Family Counselors may seek the protection and assistance of the police and of any competent government officer in carrying out their duties. In carrying out investigations, family counselors have the same powers as investigating police officers. Family Counselors have increased from 14 to 24 and they all received a six hours training for issues related to domestic violence.

Additionally, the booklet “Domestic Violence” has been reissued in Greek, English and Turkish.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

The Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family in cooperation with Attorney’s General’s Office is in the process of analysing the reported cases of domestic violence for the years 1998-2005. The result will be announced in a press conference during the year 2008.

AWARENESS RAISING

The Launching of the European Campaign in Cyprus
On the 1st March 2007, the House of Representatives, the National Machinery for Women’s Rights and the Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Domestic Violence, organised a public event on the premises of the House of Representatives entitled “No to violence against women”.

At the opening of this event, the President of the House of the House of Representatives delivered a speech on the Council of Europe’s Campaign, and referred to specific proposals on ways and means to combat this phenomenon. This event was also connected to International Women’s Day. It was well attended by Members of Parliament, representatives of the government and governmental institutions, representatives of political parties, NGOs and citizens and enjoyed large media coverage.

The President of the House of Representatives addressed the gathering and stressed out that violence against women constitutes the most inhuman manner of discrimination at the expense of women and that it is also a disgrace for civilization. Mr. Christofias confirmed the determination of the Cyprus House of Representatives to continue monitoring this issue through the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women. A speech was also, delivered by the Minister of Justice and Public Order of the Republic, Mr. Sofoclis Sofocleous, Chairman of the National Machinery for Women’s Rights.

During the event, a documentary film was shown on incidents of violence against women, worldwide. Moreover, campaign material prepared by the Council of Europe, was translated into Greek and distributed to everybody who attended. At the event attended 250 people, among them current and former MPs, judges and other dignitaries of the Republic, women’s societies and other citizens. During the event, gift bags with informational material on domestic violence, were handed out, aiming for raising awareness of the public opinion on the subject.

The contribution of National Machinery for Women’s Rights
The National Machinery for Women’s Rights (NMWR) has been very active and contributed substantially in the success of the national campaign collaborating with all stakeholders but mainly with NGOs and stimulating their involvement in the campaign. During the period of the campaign, informational material has been widely disseminated among its member organizations (nearly 16 NGOs).

Additionally, the NMWR supported NGOs in promoting their own programs and activities in this field such as the campaign of the Socialist Women’s Movement on violence against women, which included seminars, publications and the set up of a 24-hour help line. Moreover, the Socialist Women’s Movement has conducted a qualitative market survey “Domestic Violence Through the Eyes of Young People” and created also a film “Break the Wall of Silence”.

The objective of the survey was to understand how the youth of Cyprus view domestic violence. According to the survey findings, the youth of Cyprus highly criticizes any form of violence. However the phenomenon of domestic violence is very common since they admitted that they themselves or members of their families or even their friends have experienced some form of violence. Psychological violence is considered to be one of the most common and yet most difficult forms of violence that they experience. The survey, the film and the leaflets will be available to the websites of other NGOs and to the Ministry of Education and Culture as well.

The NMWR also funded the Shelter of the victims of domestic violence run by the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family and its Intervention Program “Compassion” for perpetrators and victims, as well as the campaign of the Police. The Minister of Justice and Public Order of the Republic participated at the closing ceremony of the campaign.

The contribution of the Police
The Police contributed to the European effort through their own campaign, the main aims of which were:

    1. To inform and sensitise the public on the issue, the dynamics and the consequences of domestic violence, the legal and procedural aspects of dealing with it, and the relevant Agencies, with an emphasis on Policing matters.
    2. To further sensitise police officers through print material, and to further train them through specialized training on the issue.
    3. To further inform and sensitise partner professionals of other Agencies (Governmental or Non) involved with the issue on the role of the Police.
    4. To ease and increase public and especially victim access to relevant authorities, and especially to the Police.
    5. To facilitate and increase understanding and cooperation between the Police and victims.
    6. To further improve Police professional conduct and response to Domestic Violence incidents.
    7. To increase number of domestic violence incidents reported to the Police.
    8. To increase the number of domestic violence criminal cases investigated by the Police, as well as their percentage compared to the number of incidents.
    9. To establish (through the foreseen research activities) areas of police practice in need of revision.
    10. To contribute to other existing and co-running National and/or International plans of action as well as to other campaigns against domestic violence.

The beneficiaries of the campaign were defined as the public at large and the victims as well as their dependents. The Table below lists all the actions of the Police campaign, which either have been realized to date, or will be realized until the end of the campaign in May 2008.

Police Campaign Against Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
(November 2006 – May 2008)

 

Action

Note

    1.

Public Awareness campaigns through mass media. Presentations by Police Representatives on radio and television talk shows, news bulletins and forwarding of articles through the media in cooperation with other organisations.

11/06-05/08
Extensive coverage in Nov 07, periodic coverage since then

    2.

Republication of three-sided brochure entitled: “Domestic Violence: Violence amongst Spouses and Partners: Useful information for Victims.” in 10,000 copies

2008
Action depending on existing stock

    3.

Translation of three-sided brochure entitled: “Domestic Violence: Violence amongst Spouses and Partners: Useful information for Victims.” Into English and Turkish and printing of 5,000 copies in each language

Done, May 2007

    4.

Supply of all regional Police Stations and Criminal Investigation Departments with the aforementioned brochures in all three languages in order to be widely accessible to the public as well as supplying posters to be displayed to increase public awareness.

Done, June 2007

    5.

Printing of giant Domestic Violence posters (120x120cm) to be displayed in various functions and events.

Done June 2007

    6.

Issuing of promotional gifts to Police personnel in order to be utilised within Police events

Done, May 2007

    7.

Revision of Police Manual on Domestic Violence and printing of 200 copies to be distributed to police officers undergoing specialised training on matters involving Domestic Violence, during campaigns and for the wider availability in all regional Police Stations and Criminal Investigation Departments.

Done, March 2007

    8.

Publication of research paper completed by K. Veis comprising a quantitative analysis of Domestic Violence in Cyprus.

Done, February 2007

    9.

Completion and publication of study involving the process and outcome of Domestic Violence incidents reported to the Police during 2005 incorporating a parallel evaluation of various relevant thematic parameters.

05/08
In process. Preliminary results ready in Oct. 2007

    10.

Completion of three specialized training seminars for Police Officers who are stationed at regional Police Stations and Criminal Investigation Departments.

04/07-05/08
Partly done
To be fully completed

    11.

Completion of two specialized training seminars, for 30 members of the Police, on the technical aspects and interviewing techniques utilised during video-recorded statements

10/07-4/08

    12.

Presentation of four lectures to 90 Educational personnel in cooperation with the Pedagogical Institute (Ministry of Education).

Done

    13.

Presentation of two lectures attended by 60 volunteers of the Association for Prevention and Handling of Domestic Violence.

Done. Additional lectures scheduled nation wide

    14.

Presentations to organised groups, parent associations, etc.

01/07-05/08
Several done already. Ongoing process.

    15.

Participation in the Police Center during the Cyprus National State Fair with a booth on Domestic Violence.

Done, May 2007

    16.

Conference of the CEPOL team of experts on Domestic Violence issues held at the Cyprus Police Academy

Done, May 2007

    17.

Completion of the CEPOL experts team project on domestic violence, in which the Cyprus Police participates, for the preparation of common police curriculum on domestic violence

Done, August 2007

    18.

Completion of study on violence against women, focusing on Domestic Violence and homicide/manslaughter.

Due, May 2008

Notes:
Action Numbers 3, 4, 5,6 and 7 have been approved for full or partial funding by the Ministry of Justice and Public Order (National Machinery for Women’s Rights).

The contribution of Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family
The Advisory Committee has published a booklet titled “Family Violence Constitutes a Criminal Offence”. The booklet presents the main articles of THE VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY LAW (Prevention and Protection of Victims) of 2000 as amended in 2004 in an attempt to broadly inform the public. The entire law is attached on this booklet for those who want to comprehensively brief themselves. The booklet encourages victims to make the first step in order to break the circle of violence. It is of prime importance for victims to be acquainted with the rights that THE VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY LAW provides, in order to claim the proper psychological, financial or any other support they need from the appropriate public services and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). You can find the relevant booklet on our website www.familyviolence.gov.cy

Additionally, the Advisory Committee has published a small pad with the message “Stop Violence in the Family” and distributed it to the public as well as to the relevant Ministries and NGOs.

On the 19th November 2007, the Advisory Committee organised Press Conference concerning the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse (19th November) and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November). At the press conference, the President of Advisory Committee stressed the importance of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence and referred to the various activities initiated by the relevant Ministries and NGOs. TV channels and newspapers covered the event with success. Moreover, the Advisory Committee has distributed informational material to the mailboxes of houses throughout the city of Nicosia.

The contribution of Ministry of Education and Culture
The Educational Psychological Services provide counselling and support to children and families on a broad range of problems and difficulties. Educational Psychologists work within the school system and in many cases, they deal directly or indirectly with violence against children and domestic violence.

On individual basis, Educational Psychologists provide support and counselling to children that experience violence in the family and collaborate with other professionals (clinical psychologists, Social Welfare Services) to deal with the problem effectively. Basic guidelines are also provided to women (victims of violence) and a support network is developed that includes women and children as well. The school personnel is encouraged to identify children that might experience domestic violence and refer them to the service for evaluation, counselling and support.

Furthermore, the service informs and sensitises the wider public on the matters of domestic violence and violence against women though seminars and lectures to schools or organised parents associations.

The Educational Psychological Service develops and applies a number of preventive and therapeutic programs within the schools that refer to the general school population as well as to parents. In this framework, the Service has developed an Action Plan for systematic and in-depth training for parents on matters of communications within the family. This Plan was developed by the University Research Institute of Psychological Health of Athens and includes the application of the educational materials of Health conduct “Communication with the Family”. It consists of 13 workshop sessions that include 20 parents in two-hour weekly meetings, coordinated by specially trained people from the institute. The program aims o promote psychological health through the upgrading of the quality of communication within the family and thus to reduce domestic violence.

Overall, the service provides support and counselling on an individual basis to combat domestic violence and violence against women. Also, preventive programs are developed and implemented within the school system to deal with the problem of domestic violence effectively.

The contribution of Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family
On 8th March 2008, on the occasion of International Women’s Day the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family dedicated this day to the victims of domestic violence. In that respect, a kiosk has been placed in the centre of the city and volunteers of the Association disseminated ribbons and informational material to the public. The Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, the Mayor of Nicosia and several NGOs participated in the event.

The Association integrated the Intervention Programme “Compassion” into the European campaign. The intervention program “Compassion” was designed to help people who practice domestic violence, as well as victims of domestic violence. It is targeted towards individual and /or couples. The program teaches people a specific empathy technique designed to strengthen relations with loved ones and weaken negative thoughts and feelings, such as anger and frustration. The activation and strengthening of the positive inner self allows people to drive their attention towards that part of themselves that rejects violence, but instead strives towards connection, improvement, and protection. As a result, the person becomes stronger due to self- enhancing, stemming from empathy, which is exhibited towards oneself and others. In addition, the person can automatically overcome his/her negative mood, by composing a positive response that reinforces self-worth whenever negative feelings occur. Overall, the person is trained:

• to prevent negative thoughts and feelings that may lead to violent behaviors
• to prevent teaching his/her children violent behaviors
• to identify and prevent violent acts
• to recuperate from emotional pain and abuse through the practice of specific self-healing techniques

The first group session was concluded with great success and other two group sessions are in the process.

The table below lists the actions of the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family that have been realized in respect with the campaign.

 

Action

Note

    1. 1.

Presentation of the Association’s statistics to the news on MEGA TV Channel

26.12.2007

    2.

Presentation about Domestic Violence to the students of Dianellio Gymnasium in Larnaca

19.12. 2007

    3.

Presentation about Domestic Violence to the students of
Aradippou Gymnasium

13.12.2007

    4.

The Association participated on the TV program
“ME AGAPI” on Sigma TV to talk about domestic violence

3.12.2007

    5.

Lecture on domestic violence to the Parents’ Association of
the 3rd Primary School in Dhali

29.11.2007

    6.

The Association presented at the Euro-Mediterranean workshop on “Violence against women in the Mediterranean”. The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies in Nicosia organized the workshop.

27-28.11.2007

    7.

The Association presented at the Press Conference at
American Embassy for the 16 Days of Activism on
Violence Against Women and Children

26.11.2007

    8.

16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and Children.
The Association run an awareness campaign where posters
were placed in various central points of Nicosia and also in
the Public Transportation.

25/11-10/12.2007

    9.

The Association participated on television program on Sigma
TV to talk about domestic violence

20.11.2007

    10.

The Association participated on television program on
CYBC 1 to talk about domestic violence

18.11.2007

    11.

Beginning of the training program for the new volunteers for
the crisis line 1440. The seminars aim at educating the
volunteers on violence in the family issues. The two-hour
seminars take place once a week and are comprised of 10
meetings.

3.10.2007

    12.

The Association participated on TV program on
CYBC 1 to talk about domestic violence

26.09.2007

    13.

The Association participated on television program on
FRED-TV to talk about domestic violence

15.06.2007

    14.

The Association participated on a radio program at
Radio Logos to talk about child abuse

04 .06.2007

    15.

The Association participated on television programs on
CYBC 1 and SIGMA TV to talk about child abuse.

17.05.2007

    16.

Lecture at the Cyprus Police Academy on the role of the
Association in domestic violence issues.

26.04.2007

    17.

Presentation at KENTHEA’s Conference on Women
and Alcohol in Limassol. The topic was “Domestic
Violence as a risk factor for alcohol abuse by women”.

22.03.2007

    18.

Beginning of the training program for the new
volunteers for the crisis line 1440. The seminars aim
at educating the volunteers on violence in the family
issues. The two-hour seminars take place once a
week and are comprised of 10 meetings.

14.03.2007

    19.

Lecture on domestic Violence and presentation of the
association’s work to a group of teachers at Cyprus
Pedagogical Institute in Larnaca.

22.02.2007

    20.

Presentation at KENTHEA’s 13th Pancyprian Conference on
Drug Prevention. The topic was “Domestic Violence as a risk
factor for drug and alcohol abuse”.

10.02.2007

Initiatives at the Local Level
The Municipality of Nicosia has also taken part in the National Campaign. Kiosks have been placed in the centre of the city and informational material has been distributed to the public by NGOs. Moreover, the posters of the Council of Europe Campaign have been placed free of charge at the bus stops throughout the city.

CONCLUSION
In general, the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence has in-fired our national campaign on this problem and has successfully initiated various discussions on the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women; contributed to the collaboration of the relevant Ministries; and generated all women’s organisations and relevant NGOs.

Assessment of the impact of the Council of Europe Campaign

The Task Force will partly base its assessment of the impact of the Council of Europe Campaign to combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence on the following indicators. Please respond by ticking on the boxes.

    1. Is any and every act of violence against women criminalised in your country?

    YES q NO X

Physical, sexual and psychological abuse with in the family.

2. Is violence committed by a partner or former partner punished more severely than violence among strangers (eg. gender based violence as such or the abuse of power will be considered an aggravating circumstance)?

    YES q NO q

3. Are victims enabled to seek justice in a human manner (eg. specialised courts on domestic violence, specialised units within the police, the public prosecutor or the judiciary)?

    YES X NO q

4. Does a national emergency 24/7 help-line exist free of charge for victims of domestic violence in your country?

    YES X NO q

5. Have safe shelters been set up for victims of domestic violence in an adequate ratio in your member state? 1

    YES q NO X

There is only one shelter covering the whole country.

6. Is administrative data being collected on victims of domestic violence?

    YES X NO q

The Police and Social Welfare Services collect administrative data on victims of domestic violence.

7. Is domestic violence considered as a human rights violation to be addressed in your legal system?

YES X NO q

Note 1 The Blueprint of the Council of Europe Campaign recommends a ratio for one place in a woman’s shelter per 7.500 inhabitants.