More than 30 000 reports of domestic violence have been made to emergency number 112 in Bulgaria so far in 2019, the Interior Ministry said at a November 25 news conference to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
There have been close to 2400 restraining orders issued so far this year.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 70 murders, of which 24 were of women.
The Interior Ministry said that over the next three years, it will build an automated information system that will receive all reports of domestic violence, including assault, rape and murder. The system will also contain information on restraining orders issued.
Senior Commissioner Blagorodna Makeva, deputy head of the National Police directorate, said that in 2016, more than 28 000 reports of domestic violence were received at the 112 phone number. The figure rose to more than 29 000 in 2017 and 31 166 in 2018.
Inspector Penka Stoyanova said that in 2018, the total number of restraining orders issued by the courts was 2981. As at September 30 2019, the number was 2398.
In Sofia at 6.30pm on November 25, there will be a protest march, organised by 14 human rights NGOs, against violence against women. It will begin from Independence Square, pass along Tsar Osvoboditel, and end at Eagle Bridge with a candlelight vigil.
The organisers say that the Bulgarian state is failing to take the measures necessary against killings and cases of violence in the family environment, as well as against all gender discrimination.
A similar march at this time last year drew more than 1000 participants.
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
A third of all women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, half of women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family, and violence perpetrated against women is as common a cause of death and incapacity for those of reproductive age, as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than road accidents and malaria combined, the UN News Service said.
The prevalence of the issue, “means someone around you. A family member, a co-worker, a friend, or even yourself” has experienced this type of abuse, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message to mark the day.
“Sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination,” he said, reminding the world that stigma, misconceptions, under-reporting and poor enforcement of laws perpetuate impunity in rape cases.
Research by the World Health Organization (WHO), quoted by the UN News Service, details disturbing impacts of violence on women’s physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health: Women who experience physical or sexual abuse are twice as likely to have an abortion, and the experience nearly doubles their likelihood of falling into depression. In some regions, they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, and evidence exists that sexually assaulted women are 2.3 times more likely to have alcohol disorders.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “Violence against women and girls is violence against the whole humankind, and should have no place in Europe or elsewhere in the world. But we all know that despite our commitment, we are still far from winning this challenge.
“Violence against women happens anywhere, there is no safe place, not even at home. On the contrary. Women are targeted at home as well as in their workplace, in schools and universities, on the street, in displacement and migration, and increasingly online through cyber violence and hate speech.
“The scale of the problem stays alarming: One in three women in Europe has experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Nearly all victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation within the EU are women and girls,” Mogherini said.
The EU is committed to keep working tirelessly with its partners to strengthen legal frameworks and institutions, supporting development and education, improving services for survivors, addressing the root causes of violence, promoting women empowerment, she said.
“But ending violence against women and girls requires a firm commitment not only at institutional level. It requires a broad involvement of international organisations, of NGOs, of the civil society at large. And most of all of men,” Mogherini said.
(Photo: Fabrizio Turco/freeimages.com)