Thursday, August 30, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Cyprus

3.1 Definition  
There is no legal definition for femicide. While the murder of a woman or a girl by a family member is recognized by law, it is only in relation to family violence, which is not gender-specific:  
“Violence in the Family Law” - Under section 3 of the Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims) Laws 119(I)/2000 and 212(I)/2004, this refers to: “any act, omission or behavior which causes physical, sexual or mental injury to any member of the family and includes violence used for the purpose of having sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim as well as of restricting its freedom. 
When a woman, or a girl, is murdered by a family member, it is defined by law as Violence in the Family and there is no differentiation between female and male perpetrators. 
Homicides that take place outside the family as a result of gender-based violence (e.g. by a boyfriend) are not categorized as violence against women or gender-based violence, despite the fact that analysis of the data in Cyprus demonstrates that the majority of these cases can indeed be categorized as gender based violence and acts of femicide. 
No forums and no literature exist in Cyprus related to the issue of femicide.  
3.2 Sources 
There are organizations dealing with family violence, but these are not gender specific, such as:  
1) The Service for Families and Children (Social Welfare Services), which aims to support the family unit, in order to enable family members to perform their roles and responsibilities effectively; to resolve family disputes that threaten the unity of family; to safeguard the protection and the welfare of children; to prevent delinquent behaviour and domestic violence; and to encourage the rehabilitation of people involved in anti-social behaviour and delinquency (  
2) Police Criminal Investigation Office (Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Office), which attends to all matters dealing with prevention, repression and handling of domestic violence and child abuse (  
3) Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (A project funded by the European Union) ( 
4) Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family (  
 (by Christiana Kouta and Elena Rousou) 

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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