Story by: The National Herald Staff

ATHENS – With thousands of cases of domestic violence being reported, the Greek Police (ELAS) is setting up a department to deal with the problem and provide specialist training to officers on how to handle cases of family crimes.

The staff will have guidelines on how to file and build domestic violence cases and handle victims and also on raising public awareness of the cases that are among the most common that police see in their work.

ELAS will also create a database recording all incidents of domestic violence, with details concerning the perpetrators and their victims, said a Kathimerini report.

There will be two central departments at police headquarters in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as at the main precincts of each of the country’s regions. lA manual will be given to police departments around the country showing officers how to handle domestic violence cases when they come across them during calls.

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.

With a nearly eight-year-long economic crisis already crushing Greece with record unemployment, poverty, suicide and deprivation, the number of domestic cases grew from 2014-17, with more than 13,700 cases reported.

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. “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, under a different government, 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, 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.

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