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Helpline for battered women at risk as workers unpaid for three months

Greece’s main helpline for women who are victims of violence is at risk of being suspended due to bureaucratic obstacles, under-funding and indifference on the part of the government and the ministries in charge. Its operators staged a five-hour stoppage on Wednesday over the issue.

Speaking to new website tvxs.gr, Stella Palaiologou, spokeswoman of the General General Secretariat for Equality and Human Rights, said that the 17  contract workers of the  <15900> helpline who help keep the 24/7 service running have not been paid for three months.

The problem stems from Greece’s failure to absorb funds from the new National Strategic Reference Framework (known as ESPA in Greece) operating under the recently formed Ministry of Social Cohesion and Family, Palaiologou said blaming also the Labor Ministry that has not proceeded to relevant actions.

“The hotline has received an extension until the end of the month, but it must be incorporated into the new ESPA. The necessary actions should have been taken to ensure it can continue to operate without problems. However, up until a week ago, there was no one in charge to request the process to move forward. This indicates both a trivialization of the issue and poor organization,” Palaiologou said. she stressed that the problem was known months ago.

Failure to transfer relevant responsibilities from the Labor Ministry to the new ministry appears to be at the root of the problem.

“Supplies… everything came from the Ministry of Labor. There has been no transition to the new ministry. The plan was for the transition to take place by the end of the year. This did not happen, and the Labor Ministry gave an extension, by means of a legal amendment. In short, there was no appropriate planning,” Palaiologou was quoted as saying.

The 15900 helpline is dedicated to women victims of gender or domestic violence.

It operates nationwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is staffed by psychologists and social workers who provide immediate assistance in emergencies and instances of violence.

“The 12 workers are employed at the SOS line 15900, 2 at the gender equality observatory and 3 at the equality office (Help desk), the spokeswoman said.

“We have raised our issues to the General Secretary in charge, she tells us that she understands us, but nothing is moving forward.” Unfortunately, in general, a completely amateurish approach prevails in the political leadership of the ministry, a not serious situation. When you are a political leader, you cannot say: I sympathize with the victims of gender-based violence and do not the basics. We risk not having a line in a few days”, Palaiologou stressed.

However, the so-called administrative difficulties of the transition do not seem to have been an obstacle to the payment of the salaries of ministers and other employees, she noted.

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One comment

  1. Maybe they could pose as tourists to feel wanted by the Government?