More than one in three Albanian women say they feel unsafe at home because of the presence of physical violence and almost 80% think the risk of domestic violence has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are results from a United Nations Women report called ‘Measuring the Shadow Pandemic: Violence Against Women During COVID-19’, which looked at women views and experiences on domestic violence, in the context of the pandemic.
Some 29% of women said that they or someone close to them had experienced domestic violence since the pandemic started. This rose to 53% when women were asked if they had ever been assaulted in their home or by a partner.
Around 16% of women in Albania said that the pandemic had made them feel less safe at home, and 22% said they felt less safe at night when out and about.
One of the most concerning statistics is that just under 80% of Albanian women said physical or verbal abuse from a partner had increased in the community during the pandemic. 57% also said sexual harassment increased as well.
In 2020, only 13% of reported cases of domestic violence were prosecuted according to data from the state police. Some 4,701 cases were reported, but the authorities only prosecuted 615, while 2,816 protection orders were issued.
It’s estimated that the actual number of incidents of domestic violence increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown. This was a trend seen globally and reported by various local NGOs. It’s likely however that women were less likely to report violence against them as they were trapped at home and unable to do so, or leave the violent situation.