Coronavirus in Bulgaria: Eight women killed by partners as domestic violence reports spike

An emergency fund to combat domestic violence in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic has been launched in Bulgaria, against a background of eight women having been killed by their partners and a spike in reports of domestic violence after the State of Emergency was declared in March.

“A silent pandemic other than that caused by the coronavirus has taken over many homes. This is the pandemic of domestic violence. Since the beginning of the isolation, the situation in many homes has deteriorated dramatically,” according to the organisers of the fundraising, the Bulgarian Fund for Women, the BCause Foundation and the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum.

In just a month, calls reporting domestic violence on the 116 111 Children’s Hotline jumped by 370.

The fund will support victims of domestic violence and their children by supporting front-line organisations that provide legal, psychological and social services to victims of domestic violence, manage crisis centres for women and children, counseling centres and mobile services in Bulgaria.

Three companies and a foundation have already joined the initiative with a targeted donation – Beiersdorf/Nivea, EasyPay, Experian and Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation.

The Bulgarian Fund for Women will double all individual donations made on the platform.

Donations will be put to a number of uses, including tests for Covid-19, creating separate premises for temporary quarantine before entering the crisis centres, protective clothing, personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, helmets) and disinfectants, medicines, vitamins, and essential medical supplies.

The money also will be used for additional hours of work by psychologists and lawyers at the centres, due to the increase in the need for help and the more severe cases that require immediate protection.

Funds also will go to temporary accommodation in a hotel in the absence of places at the crisis centres, an increase in mobile services to reach small settlements, increasing technical equipment for online consultations,tablets and laptops for children placed in the services so that they can continue to study remotely, as well as emergency humanitarian aid for women and their children, in cases where they have no income, do not receive maintenance and have serious financial difficulties, extra beds, installation of partitions and emergency retrofitting of premises, and educational materials and games for the children of the women accommodated at the centres.

Donations may be made to the campaign via the website or by sending a text message “DMS SILA” to the short number 17 777 or via the website of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. To pay via Easypay, use the number 4236895688.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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