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CYPRUS’ domestic violence law has loopholes and oversights in its implementation, House president Marios Garoyian said yesterday.

“More steps need to be taken such as increasing the number of family councillors, more domestic violence shelters need to be created, abuser treatment programmes need to be developed and so on,” he said.

Garoyian was speaking at a parliamentary event aimed at prevention and combating domestic violence.

“Unfortunately the phenomenon of violence against women is a global phenomenon with alarming proportions,” Garoyian said.

“The incidence of violence against women (in Cyprus) is increasing. The reasons are the same around the world. Competition, individualism, inequality, imposing strength over weakness, this is the daily reality of the world we live in,” he said.

Money and power were the ideals being promoted, and the laws of trade and commerce were supreme.

“Values such as companionship, cooperation, equality, mutual respect are undermined and sidelined. In this general social environment all the ingredients for violence to exist are developed,” he said.

The House president said greater emphasis had to be given to education to teach children the right family model and to better prepare them to build a family and to undertake a parental role in adulthood.

“Teachers can also play a part in identifying incidences of domestic violence and how they are handled in co-operation with other competent bodies,” he said.

Garoyian also said the media had a role to play in effectively dealing with violence against women and the family.

“Although the Council of Europe has commended Cyprus for passing a specialised law, a law it characterised as exemplary, we believe it is our responsibility and duty to continually look for more effective ways and mechanisms to achieve the best possible results in our efforts to prevent and fight domestic violence,” he said.

The law was passed in 2000. Its implementation has helped speed up procedures and overpasses certain previous bureaucratic procedures, it has allowed for the creation of taped statements, and has helped improve the police force’s handling of domestic violence cases, he said.

Cyprus Mail, December 3, 2008

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