The Direct Hotline of the Prevention and Family Violence Association has taken a record number of calls from April 1 to 22, during the peak of the lockdown.
Speaking on Active Radio, the SPAVO scientific director Andri Andronikou said that in comparison to March, when the 1440 line took 2075 calls, the April number was almost a thousand calls higher, around 861, reaching almost three thousand. She told the Agenda show that this was the highest number of calls-incident reports of family violence that the Direct Help Hotline had ever taken.
The number of unanswered calls, due to unavailable lines or in the evening where there’s less staff around, remains at around 55%. She said that SPAVO will make sure that there are more people to answer the calls in the evening, having already pumped up personnel numbers for morning and afternoon hours.
SPAVO handled 81 reports of family violence in February, that number almost tripling to 230 in March, a rise of almost 58%. The same percentage also involves cases that have been referred to the relevant state services.
Andronikou noted that the lockdown restrictions mean that on many occasions, women are at home with abusive husbands, so they simply cannot pick up the phone and ask for help. SPAVO is trying to make more use of social media, where women can get through on messenger or email, while live chat and SMS services are also on the way.
She added that children victims of family violence are also at higher risk as they are trapped at home with an abusive parent or the mother’s partner, putting them at higher physical and psychological danger. Unfortunately, she noted, many of these cases are usually spotted at school and this is no longer possible.