Victims of domestic violence will now be able to seek help at pharmacies in Monaco, as authorities ramp up measures to protect vulnerable women during lockdown.
Céline Cottalorda, delegate for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights, told Monaco Life last week that the Prince’s government was exploring “additional arrangements” like those seen in France, particularly the introduction of covert contact points.
Amid warnings confinement could heighten domestic tensions and cut off escape routes, the government confirmed on Monday 6th April that it is implementing two new protective measures.
The first involves mobilising pharmacies as a location where victims can report violence and seek help. “The pharmacies of Monaco are now a place where you can be welcomed, guided and give the alert for emergencies,” says the government.
There is also a new email address specifically for victims of domestic violence: email@example.com. This service is accessible 24 hours a day and is available in addition to the emergency numbers 17 and 93 15 30 15.
The move has been welcomed by women’s advocate Vibeke Brask Thomsen, director of She Can He Can. “It’s good news as it provides a way for women to leave the violent situation by going to the pharmacy and hopefully receive assistance,” she tells Monaco Life. “Some women of course won’t be able to leave the home so it won’t help, but it will help some. I hope that pharmacists are also trained to respond to first signs, which is not easy during this stressful time.”
Authorities have also stepped up a call for friends, family and neighbours to get involved. “If you witness violence, if you hear a beating, shouting, crying, or if a violent argument escalates, you can help by calling 17,” said the government.
“It is a gesture that can save a life,” added Chief Commissioner of Police Rémy Lejuste. “On the other hand, you must call the police and not try to intervene directly.”
The United Nations is calling for all countries to address the “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” directed towards women and girls, and linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. UN chief Antonio Guterres is urging “all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the crisis”.
And while it is encouraging to see countries like Monaco jumping to action, it is hoped that long-term solutions will also be formed in light of the crisis.
“I hope this crisis will encourage decision-makers to realise the importance of having gender-segregated data so we can better understand how crisis such as this one impacts and will impact women and men differently,” says Ms Brask Thomsen. “This includes the long-term effects of lost income, unequal share of unpaid care work and of course domestic violence. The effects of such a pandemic can last years and we need the tools to better understand and address this.”
Information on all support mechanisms in Monaco is available at www.dfm.mc and on www.covid19.mc, as well as social networks via # COVID19, # ViolencesFemmesJ’agis #DFM.
Photo by Victoria Cellun, all rights reserved Monaco Life