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Greek authorities have launched an urgent investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 28-year-old woman outside an Athens police precinct where she had sought protection from an ex-boyfriend. The incident has sparked calls for femicide to be recognized as a distinct term in Greece’s criminal code by left-wing opposition parties. The woman’s 39-year-old former partner was arrested and hospitalized under police guard after reportedly stabbing himself following the attack. The Minister of Police, Michalis Chrisochoidis, has promised a thorough investigation of the case to determine what actions were taken by the police and what could have been done differently.

The victim had visited the police precinct with a friend to report that her former boyfriend had been loitering outside her home. Despite having made formal complaints against him in the past for abusive behavior, she declined to make a formal complaint at the precinct. She requested a patrol car to take her home for protection, but was directed to call the police emergency line to request assistance. Tragically, while she was making the call, her ex-partner suddenly attacked her, fatally injuring her with a knife. President Katerina Sakellaropoulou expressed shock at the killing and emphasized the urgent need for authorities to address gender-based violence and crime in the country.

The police statement highlighted that officers are trained to respond to gender-based violence and follow protocols that are regularly updated. Minister Chrisichoidis emphasized the importance of examining to what extent these protocols were followed in this particular case. He expressed support for the opposition parties’ call for femicide to be included as a distinct term in the criminal code but stressed the need for a serious and calm debate by legal experts before any changes are made. The Athens stabbing marks the sixth femicide reported in Greece this year, with 15 reported in 2023.

This tragic incident underscores the ongoing issue of gender-based violence and the urgent need for measures to protect women and girls from harm in Greece. The authorities have vowed to conduct a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death and evaluate the police’s response to her request for protection. Calls for femicide to be recognized as a distinct term in the criminal code highlight the importance of addressing gender-related motivations in cases of violence against women. The President’s statement and the Minister’s commitment to a thorough review of police protocols demonstrate a recognition of the seriousness of the problem and a willingness to take action to prevent future tragedies.

Efforts to combat gender-based violence and femicide require a multi-faceted approach that includes awareness-raising, training for law enforcement officials, and legal reforms to adequately address the issue. The government’s commitment to investigating this case and improving protocols for responding to gender-based violence is a step in the right direction. However, the broader societal attitudes and cultural norms that contribute to violence against women must also be addressed through education and advocacy. The tragic death of the young woman in Athens serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to prioritize the safety and well-being of women in Greece and around the world.

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