Results and data from the Conference in Rethymno on 'Gender Violence'

The Region of Crete (Regional Observatory for Social Inclusion in colaboration with the Directorate of Public Health and Social Care of R.U. of Rethymno) successfully organized the confernece entitled, "Gender Violence", in the framework of the program "Actions to Promote Gender Equality in the Region of Crete 2018 - 2020", in cooperation with the University of Crete and the Hellenic Mediterranean University. The meeting was organized in cooperation with Public Health and Social Care Directorate of Regional Unit of Rethymno. It was held at the "House of Culture" in Rethymnon, with the participation of representatives of academic institutions and social services-institutions.

In particular, the Deputy Regional Gobernor of Public Health and Social Policy, Lambros Vamvakas, pointed out the important role that the local government has to play for gender equality in Crete. Phenomena such as those of gender-based violence, mental and physical, have negative consequences mainly for women and their relatives, but also for society as a whole. The promotion of women's health is a matter of the highest priority associated with ensuring conditions of family and social equality. The Deputy Mayor of Education of the Municipality of Rethymno, Anna Eleftheriadou-Gika, also addressed a greeting.

According to data presented by the head of the Social Inclusion Observatory of the Region of Crete (Observatory), Vlasaki Katerina, provided to the Observatory by the "SOS Line (15900)" of the General Secretariat for Family Policy and Gender Equality of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs A total of 1237 cases of sexual violence have been recorded for Crete in the period 2011-2019. The largest increase in such cases is found in the years 2018 and 2019. Violence is reported to the "SOS Line" mainly by women victims and it is mainly domestic violence. The above data show that the number of women in Crete that are breaking their silence searching for help, is growing, which feeds the need to support and strengthen the respective structures in Crete, especially the psychosocial and counseling support services. For the overall picture of the situation of gender-based violence in Crete, however, the utilization of data by different services involved is required. Data concerning the socio-economic profile of women victims of violence and perpetrators must be systematically recorded and used synthetically in the context of intervention proposals.

The head of the Department of Social Solidarity of the Department of Social Solidarity of Public Health and Social Care Directorate of Regional Unit ot Rethymno, Markaki Kalliopi, referred to the lived experience of an abused woman and on this basis, analyzed the social representations that cause and reproduce gender-based violence.

According to the data presented by Maria Papadakaki, assistant. Professor of the Department of Social Work - School of Health Sciences of the Hellenic Mediterranean University, the harassment of women at work, seems to amount to 83.5% and concerns degrading behaviors of women and their excessive burden at work. Vulnerable are mainly young and unmarried, but also women of higher education, as well as those who do not have much work experience. Low self-esteem and lack of non-violence skills as well as attitudes of tolerance of violence seem to help maintain the phenomenon. Special needs such as the needs of adolescent women, women with disabilities are not reflected in violence prevention policies. The need to staff the services with properly trained and specialized professionals was stressed, so that they can recognize the problem early.

For her part, Vasiliki Petousi, Associate Professor of the Department of Sociology at the University of Crete, referred to the sociological and criminological dimensions of gender-based violence.

The psychologist Anna Sifaki, of the Counseling Support Center for Women Victims of Violence, presented the role and the way of operation of the Women's Counseling Center of the Municipality of Rethymnon.

According to Meropi Apelidou, a gender expert with the Department of Social Welfare of the Region of Crete, about 50% of women who are abused by her husband or partner have children. Children who grow up in an environment where there is abuse of the mother are at increased risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of domestic violence themselves. For this reason, a Nationwide Network of Counseling Structures for children - victims of domestic violence should be added to the Network for the Prevention and Response of Violence against Women.