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Police officers send away a victim of domestic violence on the pretext of coronavirus
The Diotima Centre is deeply concerned about the management of gender-based violence by police authorities in the midst of a pandemic.

The Diotima Centre, a recognized and specialized body on gender-based violence, expresses its deep concern about the management of incidents of gender-based violence by police authorities in the midst of a pandemic and generalized restrictions on the movement of citizens.

As we have been informed, last week, a beneficiary of our institution, who had just suffered domestic violence and physical abuse by her husband, fled with her minor children to the police station in order to file a complaint against the abuser, as provided for by Law 3500/2006.

In fact, the woman had witnesses with her who testified to the incident, as they too had been injured in their attempt to protect her. They too expressed their willingness to file a complaint against the perpetrator.

According to the law, the police authorities were obliged: to investigate the complaint, record the incident in the book of offenses and incidents, and inform the prosecutor in writing.

Instead, they categorically refused the survivor and witnesses to receive any documents and send them away from the police station.

They cited the new extraordinary circumstances due to the coronavirus as an excuse for their practice and stressed that they would not receive complaints until further notice.

In fact, in order to prevent the woman from taking any action they raised for a long time, cumulatively with the new circumstances, the usual argumentation often faced by survivors in the PSs, that i.e.: “suing for domestic violence is meaningless because it leads to new lawsuits”, “the perpetrator will not be arrested under the in flagrante procedure”, “even assuming that he is eventually arrested within the limits of the in flagrante procedure, he will also file a lawsuit and as a result, the woman will be arrested”, ” the courts are slow to hear these cases” and in any “case these are not issues that the police and the criminal justice system solve but a divorce” !!!

The incident took place in the context of an unprecedented condition in which survivors of gender-based violence are forced to stay home 24/7 with their abusers. A condition that we know exponentially increases the risk of an upsurge in domestic violence. This is, moreover, what all international scientific studies document.

The Diotima Centre stresses its strong concern about the refusal of the police authorities to implement the law, citing the new situation that has emerged in the midst of a pandemic.

We appeal to the State and all relevant authorities to take all necessary actions provided for by the law to protect survivors of gender-based violence.

UPDATE 30/3:

A small but important victory! The woman who had been thrown out of the PS under the pretext of, among other things, coronavirus, properly filed her domestic violence complaint yesterday.

The publication of the testimony of the survivor – our beneficiary, from the Diotima Center, on Friday 27/3, our appeal to the State “to take all necessary actions provided by law for the protection of victims of domestic violence in the midst of a pandemic”, but also the extent that the whole incident took with the help of all of you, caused the immediate mobilization of the General Police Directorate of Athens.

On Monday 30/3, the press office of the Hellenic Police and the Domestic Violence Bureau of the Athens Police Directorate contacted our organization, assuring us that they will immediately address the issue. In fact, it was suggested to the survivor to contact directly the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in order for the whole procedure to be carried out by them. This was followed by contact with the security officer of the Police Station in question, who assured us that the woman can go whenever she wants to file a complaint, which was done the same day!

We continue to stand with survivors of gender-based violence to ensure their protection and safety!


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