The Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Cyprus ensure the right of every sitizen to life and corporal integrity, freedom of speech and expression, equal treatment and respect. The Prevention of Violence in the Family and Protection of Victims Law 119(I)/2000, as amended by Law 212(Ι)/2004, prohibits the use of violence among members of the same family and specifically among spouses, ex-spouses, cohabiting and ex-cohabiting couples.
Police statistics, which are based on victim reports to Police Stations, indicate that most incidents of domestic violence occur between current or ex – spouses or cohabiting couples. The overwhelming majority of offenders are men. Between 1980 and 2006 there have occured 42 domestic homicides in Cyrus, 88% of which ahve been committed by men.
According to the Law, violence among members of the same family is prohibited, and it constitues an aggavated criminal offence for which stricter penalties are imposed as compared to the same offences committed between non relatives.
An act of violence commited by one spouse against the other in the presence of minor members of the family is considered by the Law as “double offence” because the said minor may suffer from psychological traumas.
Protect citizens from any type of violence and bring offenders before a Court.
Investigate each incident which is reported and take measures against the offender, as long as there is sufficient evidence to that effect.
Take care of victim protection through legal measures provided for by the respective legistaltion.
Inform involved parties regarding Police procedures to be followed in such cases in accordance with the respective legislation.
Provide information on othe Agencies offering assistance and support to victims of domestic violence.
Inform and invite officials from other competend Agencies to respond when required and cooperate with them to handle incidents in the best possible way.
For your protection in case of an emergency, try to memorize or write down somewhere handy the telephone number of the nearest Police Station or the Emergency Intervention Unit (112 or 199) or the Citizens’ Line (1460).
In case you are abused, it is important that you contact the Police as quickly as possible, so that your protection is ensured and the Police investigation is facilitated. It is possible to contact the Police at a later stage, but in such case the investigation will be more difficult.
To report a case of domestic violence, you should contact the local (to the incident) Police Station.
When the Police arrive or when you go to the Police, tell them what has happened and what you are afraid of. Make sure that you will mention any previous incidents of similar violence against you. The Police Officers, depending on the circumstances, will discuss the case with you and with the other party, they will collect testimony and evidence and they may take photographs.
In cases of domestic violence, the family residence should be abandoned by the offender and not the victim. If, however, for safety reasons there is no other choice for you than to temporarily abandon your residence, Police Officers (if asked for) may assist you to do so in safety. They may also arrange your safe accommodation at a victims’ shelter by bringing you in touch with other competent officials. Another option in such case is for you to temporarily stay with a relative or a friend.
Police Officers may also, under certain circumstances, proceed with the arrest of the offender. In cooperation with the Social Welfare Services and with your consent, the Police may apply for the issuance of a Court Order, which if granted will temporarily prohibit the offender from entering the marital residence for a few days, regardless of who the owner of the residence is.
The Police officer who will take charge of your case, will record your visit and your oral reports in a concise note in the Police Station’s Diary. This does NOT constitute a written complaint, which presupposes your written and signed statement of the events. The Police will ask you to give a written statement of the events so that they may proceed with the further criminal investigation of the complaint and with other police actions.
It is important to be aware that in case you do not submit a written and signed complaint against the offender, the Police, apart from exceptional cases where other testimony exists, will not be able to proceed with the further investigation of your allegation and/or will not be in a position to bring the offender before a Court or to proceed with prosecution. Even if this happens, in such cases it is extremely difficult for a Court to convict an accused spouse in the absence of the testimony of the victim/ witness spouse.
In case you give a written statement against the offender, this does not automatically lead to a Court conviction. If the person who has abused you in your spouse, you have the right not to testify against him/her.
It is important that you visit a Public Medical Care Center to attend your wounds and to receive documentation from a public – sector doctor. If you haven’t done this before the involvement of the Police, the Police Officer is going to give you a specific document for the doctor to fill and then you must take it back to the Police. Even though at the time you do not intend to testify against your spouse, it is important you receive the medical care you need and return the specific document to the Police, for an easier documentation of your allegations.
Police Officers are not suitable to provide family consultation and/or psychological support for problem solving of domestic matters. The best suitable force for consultation, guidance and mediation to minimize domestic matters are the Officers at the Social Welfare Offices. In addition, similar cervices can be provided through Officer of other, Governmental or not, Organisations.
For more information or for general discussions about domestic violence issues or/and child abuse, which concern you, please contact the nearest Police Station or the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Office, at the Police Headcourters (tel. 22808442).