In Ukraine, 80% of those seeking help from law enforcement reporting domestic violence incidents are women, and 20% – men.

That's according to a report delivered by the Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova, who spoke at a Kyiv forum "Domestic Violence: A 360-Degree View. Challenges. Opportunities. Actions," an UNIAN correspondent report.

The types of abuse go beyond sexual violence – extending to psychological and financial pressure on the victim.

The Ombudsperson's Office has analyzed these appeals and identified the existing issue, including the insufficient number of facilities where victims can appeal for help. This is about shelters for the temporary hosting of domestic violence victims. Today, there are 34 such shelters across Ukraine, but in seven regions, no such safe places have been set up at all.

"The coronavirus epidemic has added problems, because to get into such a shelter, one needs a COVID-19 test, while in some places, due to the epidemic, there is no public transport connection, which complicates for those needing shelter the efforts to get there. Besides, often the victims are unaware of their opportunities to get free legal advice," Denisova said.

Also, the issue of children who become witnesses of domestic violence is yet to be addressed. According to international standards, such children must be referred to as victims, not witnesses of domestic violence incidents thereby having the right to government assistance.

Due to the distance learning in schools, children in the affected families are often deprived of access to proper education since their abusers do not allow them using a computer.

Denisova stressed that in Ukraine, despite government promotion campaigns, people generally refrain from exposing their abusers. This is "part of mentality," the report says, where people consider it inappropriate to come out with personal experience of being subjected to domestic violence. Many victims wish not to be judged by general public, although lately, this stereotype is starting to break down.

Over the nine months of 2020r, more than 142,000 domestic violence reports have been filed, which is double the number reported in 2017, the Ombudsperson concluded.

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