Protection against domestic violence in Cyprus
According to a study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), one in three women aged 15 and over have experienced physical or sexual violence in Europe. At the same time, the organization suspects that the data obtained does not reflect the current state of affairs but only show that it is not socially acceptable to talk about cases of domestic violence in all countries.
Psychologists and sociologists divide domestic violence into several main types: physical, sexual, psychological, and economic. Most often, the victim is exposed to several types of negative impacts simultaneously. Scientists warn: psychological and economic violence is no less dangerous for the human psyche than physical or sexual. Therefore, the victim of a psychological crime against the person has as many rights as the victim who has been battered.
In Cyprus, domestic violence is a public matter, not a family matter. In the event of acts of violence (of any kind), the victim has the right to contact the police, even if he is not a citizen of Cyprus.
Most forms of physical and psychological violence are punished in Cyprus.
Sexual assault and rape are criminalized under various provisions of the Penal Code. In the definition of rape, the Criminal Code includes lack of consent, consent given by force, coercion, and/or threat. In the case of rape, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
Domestic violence is a criminal offense under the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection of Victims) Act 2000 and 2004.
In addition to the police, the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family SPAVO operates on the island, a non-profit non-governmental organization whose entire activities are aimed at helping victims of domestic violence.
The Cyprus Association for the Prevention and Management of Cases of Domestic Violence is funded by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Cyprus and EU funds.
State Prosecutor Louise Christodoulidou Zannetou said last November that all domestic violence cases go directly to the courts, which deal with them with particular care.
Justice Minister Ionas Nikolaou said that the island’s authorities are now making every possible effort to progressively implement the Istanbul Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, signed by Cyprus in June 2015.