SINCE the coronavirus crisis lockdown has kept people confined to their homes the Balearic Islands has seen an increase in the number of calls to its 24-hour gender-based violence helpline.
The regional Presidency, Culture and Equality minister Pilar Costa reported that the IbDona Balearic Women’s Institute service registered 569 calls between March 15 and May 5. This represented a 5 per cent rise on the same period last year.
The institute also received 45 WhatsApp messages, 15 per cent up on 2019.
Costa said there had been 21 per cent more calls over the first fortnight of April than in the first half of March, which were the two weeks before the State of Alarm restrictions on going out came into force.
She stressed the point that in 75 per cent of cases it was the first time the women calling had contacted the service.
She further revealed that the majority of the calls had been from women aged between 31 and 40, most of them Spanish citizens, and that 14 per cent had been emergency situations.
The regional minister highlighted the measures carried out to address gender violence under the lockdown. These include putting out information with emergency numbers for victims who need help or information.
The IbDona institute has also reached agreements with the Balearic property administrators’ association on putting up signs with the information at residential complexes. In addition signs have been displayed at 274 supermarket entrances.
“From the first day of the State of Alarm, one of the priorities has been dissemination through all possible channels of the services at the reach of women victims, whether to ask for help, to clarify queries, to request information or for advice or legal or psychological assistance,” she stressed.
Costa reported there is constant contact with the associations which help vulnerable women and victims, and said work had been done on trying to improve “the precarious situation” due to the Covid-19 crisis of women working in jobs considered feminine professions, like domestic work and childcare, in the underground economy or as prostitutes.
A further initiative is the Mask-19 campaign, made possible thanks to an agreement with the Balearic College of Pharmacists.
This allows women who feel they are being watched or controlled or who are in an extreme situation can to go to any one of the archipelago’s 443 pharmacies and ask for a mask-19. This is the signal for whoever is serving them to contact the 112 emergency services to launch the action protocol.