The chair of the parliamentary gender equality committee, Marija Selak Raspudic, a member of the Bridge caucus, warned on Monday about a worrying, 50% increase in the number of crimes of domestic violence in the April-October period of this year compared to the same period of 2019.
Prompted by a recent tragedy in Zagreb when a police officer killed his wife and committed suicide in front of their underage children, Selak Raspudic said that in the period from April to October this year there were 752 cases of grave domestic violence, which most frequently results in murder, as against 511 in the same period of last year.
“The increase in domestic violence caused by the current pandemic and the consequent epidemiological measures is present globally and it is due to movement restrictions which make people stay home for a longer period of time, including victims of domestic violence, who have to stay with their abusers,” said Selak Raspudic.
“We have been witnessing the goverment’s commendable promptness in responding to the (October 12) attack on the government headquarters but also its slowness and inaction when citizens’ lives are at risk. After this tragic act, and taking into account foreign statistics, which warn about an increase in domestic violence in the current time of crisis, there has been a lack of a sufficiently strong response of the competent institutions,” said Selak.
She underlined the need to raise public awareness of the broader consequences of the pandemic, including a rise in domestic violence, and the need for a stronger social response.
Selak Raspudic announced a session of the committee she chairs for next week, to discuss domestic violence in the time of the coronavirus crisis, ways to advance prevention and victim protection.
She believes that the national coronavirus crisis management team should be expanded to include experts on mental health, as well as that one should invest more in media campaigns to inform potential victims of the centres and emergency lines to contact.
She also called for a closer interdepartmental cooperation in dealing with the problem.