Actions of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality to combat domestic violence
The General Secretariat for Gender Equality participates in the campaign of the Council of Europe on combating domestic violence. To this end, representatives have been appointed (High Level Official και Focal Point), and an action plan has been prepared.
According to the National Policy Priorities and the Axes for Action on Gender Equality (2004-2008) adopted by the Governmental Committee, the prevention of and fighting violence against women constitutes one of the axes needing direct special actions. In this framework, the General Secretariat for Gender Equality of the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation implements, on its own or in cooperation, the following:
a. It has cooperated with the Ministry of Justice on the elaboration of Law 3500/2006 on combating domestic violence, aiming at the protection of the fundamental rights of women and children. Reformative breakthroughs of the law are the following:
- stricter formation of sanctions imposed for committing certain culpable acts within family (especially corporal injuries and illegal violence or threat)
- establishment of the procedure of penal intervention for misdemeanours of domestic violence
- forced sexual intercourse without the free will of both spouses is regarded to constitute a penal crime
- explicit prohibition of corporal violence against minors as a means of correction
- extension of the scope of application of the law in the permanent cohabitation of an unmarried couple
- ensuring the protection of victims by means of facilitating their access to judicial procedures, and, on the other hand, guaranteeing their security within and outside family. In particular, the immediate expulsion of the perpetrator from the residence and the prohibition for him to have access to the places of residence and work of the victim, to the residence of the victim's closest relatives, to the shelters and to the children's schools, so as to ensure the most effective protection of victims and their children
- moreover, the acts of domestic violence against a pregnant woman are severely punished, while the exercise of domestic violence constitutes a rebuttable presumption of marriage breakdown, as do the cases of adultery, bigamy, and attempt on the life of the victim.
b. The new Code on Municipalities and Communities (Law 3463/2006) provides, as a new competency of the Local Government Organisations of first degree, advisory support of victims of domestic violence and violence between cohabiting persons.
c. The assistance to victims of domestic violence through the two Advisory Centres (in Athens and in Pireaus) of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality is going on providing advisory, psychological and legal support.
d. Translation and publication of the leaflet on domestic violence in English, Arabian and Persian has been realized. The publication of the leaflet on domestic violence in Arabian and Persian has been considered as necessary in the framework of implementing the Memorandum of Cooperation with the UN High Commissioner's Office for Refugees in Greece.
e. In cooperation with the Institute of Training of the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government, training and sensitisation seminars addressing judges, public prosecutors, police officers and health and social workers have been carried out, aiming at handling cases of domestic violence and trafficking more effectively.
f.The General Secretariat for Gender Equality implements, as final beneficiary, the project: «Integrated interventions in favour of women» in the framework of the Operational Plan «Employment and Vocational Training 2000-2006» of the 3rd European Community Support Framework, by means of which not only unemployed women are actually supported in getting a job, but also the reconciliation between professional and family life is facilitated. The project involves all administrative regions of the country, and it is of an initial total budget of 53 million euros, increased by 6.000.000 euros in 2006. This project benefits a total number of 9.018 women, mainly unemployed of any age, in every region of the country.
It mainly addresses unemployed women and, also, women who belong to socially vulnerable groups and aims at improving the access, the social support and the participation of women in the labour market by means of providing them with information, advisory and social support services so as to promote them in employment. The selection procedure contains a special provision for women belonging to vulnerable groups. Women who are victims of domestic violence are given priority according to the selection criteria.
g. The Research Centre for Gender Equality (Κ.Ε.TH.Ι.), supervised and financed by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, has started implementing of a Programme Providing Supplementary Supporting Services, titled «Improving the conditions of the integration of vulnerable groups of women in the labour market». The programme aims at strengthening and preparing women to integrate in the labour market, to support them in undertaking entrepreneurial initiatives and to promote them to jobs.
The programmes of advisory and legal supporting services will provide advisory and legal assistance in regard to issues of employment and entrepreneurship as well as in regard to dealing with problems of domestic violence to beneficiary women. They will be realised in nine (9) Regions of the country (East Macedonia - Thrace, Central Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, Central Greece, West Greece, Attica, Peloponnese, and Crete).
In the same framework, the already operating advisory centres of K.E.TH.I. in Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos, and Heracleion have been reinforced. Moreover, five (5) new branches are being established in Kalamata, Amfissa, Preveza, Komotini and Alexandroupolis.
h. The Research Centre for Gender Equality (ΚΕTHΙ), which is supervised by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, implements a programme entitled: «Sensitisation of teachers and interventional programmes promoting gender equality». The Programme has a total budget of 25 million euro, belongs to the Operational Project of Education and Initial Vocational Training - ΕPΕΑΕΚ ΙΙ - 3rd European Community Support Framework, and is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (ΥP.Ε.P.TH.). It aims at promoting gender equality in secondary education and initial vocational training, introducing the relevant issues through the implementation of Interventional Programmes by school units.
Since the beginning of the project till the present day, 487 Cooperations of School Units have been established with the participation of 2.626 school units, 4.909 teachers (34% male teachers and 66% female teachers) and 72.696 pupils (47% boys and 53% girls). During the current school year (2006-2007) 188 Cooperations of School Units have been established, implementing Interventional Programmes, which give priority to issues of domestic violence.