Crime and suicide incidents decreased last year, while the cases of domestic violence are on the raise, according to statistics and information from the Kirkuk police command.
Lieutenant Colonel Amer Nuri, spokesman for the Kirkuk police, told KirkukNow that the number of crimes registered in the province in 2022 were 30% lower than the previous year.
"More than 95% of the murder cases have been solved. There were 27 murder cases last year and all of them were revealed. In 25 cases, the suspect was arrested and only two of them fled," he added without further details about murder cases in the previous years.
Lieutenant Amer said there were 36 suicides in Kirkuk last year, including six cases of people under the age of 18, five of them were females and one male.
According to the statistics of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission, 98 people committed suicide in Kirkuk in 2021, including 78 women over the age of 20, comparted to 65 suicides in 2020, 50 of them women.
"Only domestic violence, including violence against women and children, increased last year compared to the previous year. Our figures in this regard are not accurate because many cases of violence are not reported to the security authorities and are not recorded," Kirkuk Police Spokesman said.
Over several years, many Iraqi families have suffered with mental health scars caused by past conflicts and economic hostilities, World Health Organization WHO said in a story about suicide in Iraq in December 2020.
“Many communities have also faced new stay-at-home restrictions or limited movements to curb the spread of COVID-19.” Public health experts talked to WHO raised concerns about factors may increase suicide rates including social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, unemployment, chronic stress, and economic difficulties, which could worsen depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
“Other factors include barriers to access mental health services, depression, and insomnia among populations and some health care professionals.”
Various factors could contribute to rates of suicide in Iraq, WHO found out, including intimate partner problems, physical health conditions, financial challenges, and legal issues. Others are personal or family experiences of violence, for instance, child abuse, neglect, or family history of suicide and broader community conditions, such as high crime rates and violence.
According to the latest statistics of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, more than 772 "suicide" cases were recorded in Iraq, and this number is greater compared to 2020, which witnessed the registration of 663 cases, according to the semi-official Iraqi Media Network IMN.
Some of these cases are teenager girls below 14, committed suicide because of forcible premature marriage.
In that statistic, 60% of those who "committed suicide" were males, 40% of them were married, and more than 36% of the victims were under 20 years old, compared to 32% between 20 and 30 years old.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the motives for suicide for 35% were related to psychological stress, 35% due to psychological disorders, 13% to poverty, about 10% due to unemployment, and some of them "committed suicide" due to failure in high schools and universities.
KirkukNow received statistics about the first two months of 2022, during which 149 cases of domestic violence were registered in Kirkuk, including 122 cases against women, while in 2021 there were 500 cases in the province.
There were no shelters in Kirkuk to house women and girls whose lives were threatened or who faced violence for various reasons, especially domestic violence, until the provincial administration opened a shelter in December 2022, coinciding with efforts to pass an anti-domestic violence law, which provides some measures to prevent violence.
The Iraqi federal government has approved to inaugurate a shelter for women exposed to violence after unremitting and continuous efforts by activists and advocates of women's rights.
The importance of opening a shelter for abused women means there will be no need to transfer these women to the shelters in Baghdad and Sulaymaniyah in order to protect them, given that many of the abused women rejected being transferred to another province.
"Last year, 176 suspects were arrested in drug cases, ... as Kirkuk has become a route for the transportation of drugs to other provinces and regions," Lieutenant Colonel Nuri said.
According to Kirkuk police statistics, during the first six months of 2021, 170 people were arrested in a Kirkuk for charges of drug trafficking, possession and consumption.
Per the Drug Eradication Law passed by the Iraqi parliament in 2017, anyone who imports or cultivates drugs for commercial purposes is punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Anyone who possesses, buys, uses or transports drugs is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of not less than 10 million Iraqi dinars IQD (USD7,000) and not more than 30 million dinars, according to the law.
"There were 76 cases of major thefts in 2022, all of whom were arrested, but no minor thefts, such as theft of a cooking gas bottle," Nuri said.
"No cases of abduction, car theft or burglary were registered last years though there have been such incidents in previous years.”