Elaboration of Appropriate Legal
one of the important guarantees of prevention of violence against women.
Laws on domestic violence vary by country. Unfortunately
there is no appropriate Law and supplementary Legal Package on domestic
violence in Armenia at the moment, which will assist in the resolution of different
problems in this sphere. Working with women-victims of domestic violence every
day we are convinced that a woman has to be free from all forms of violence in
order to become a full
member of society and take part in social, economic, political and cultural
life of the country.
Concerning current situation on domestic violence in Armenia it must be
noted that criminal cases are covered under the clauses of the Criminal Code of
RA that concerns willful infliction of health of different degrees. There are
no specially trained police officers, judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and
attorneys who would see in the abused woman a victim and won’t be reluctant to
support her. At the same time, they do not have sufficient legal mechanisms and
tools at their disposal to protect victims of domestic violence and punish abusers.
Due to the absence of Family Courts women often have to wait for quite a long
period to have their cases considered in queue order. Most of the judges are not
aware enough of domestic violence phenomenon. Moreover, the majority of them do
not realize difference between violence in general and domestic violence and
are men inclined to blame women. They have deeply rooted attitude that domestic
violence is an inner «family» matter and even in case of seeking divorce they
prefer not to break the family. All the above mentioned brings to the fact that
most domestic violence cases remain under-reported or non-reported at all.
Elaboration of the Draft Law on Domestic Violence
2007 - 2009 the Draft Law on Domestic Violence was elaborated by Women’s
Rights Center on the basis of its more than 10 years experience in the area of
domestic violence, then revised by the group of international and local
experts, and submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of RA in
September 2009 for further circulation. In 2010 Armenian Government took
certain steps to combat gender based violence, including domestic
violence. According to the decree N 213-A issued by the Prime-Minister of
RA on March 30, 2010 State Interagency Commission on Combating Gender Based
Violence has been established. The Commission has brought together about 40
representatives of key state agencies, civil society and the international
community active in the field. Women's Rights Center is a member of this Commission,
the goal of which is to raise the effectiveness of events and elaborate certain
mechanisms to prevent gender based violence. Within the framework of this Commission
a Working Group was formed with the purpose to elaborate National Action Plan
on Combating Gender Based Violence. During Working Group meetings WRC presented
the most crucial points enforcing advocacy and lobbying of the Draft Law on
Domestic Violence, which gave its positive results: on November 12th, 2010 it
was presented to the Government of RA for consideration. The circulation and
the public discussion period of the Draft came to its end and its supplemented
version was given to the consideration and verification of the Prime Minister
of RA on the 28th of November, 2012. Unfortunately, on February 11, 2013 the Ministry
of Labor and Social Affairs received conclusion from the Government according
to which the adoption of such Draft was not reasonable. Instead, the Government
projected to include the drafted items in other legislative acts.
However, as long as Armenia
has been the first country in the world to ratify the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its
Optional Protocol, and the government of RA has developed National Action Plan
on Improving the Status of Women and Enhancing Their Role in Society
(2004-2010) and Strategic Action Plan to Combat Gender-based Violence
(2011-2015) WRC deems that the situation may undergo significant changes.
Advocacy and Lobbying
One of the
most important directions of Women’s Rights Center’s activity is constant
advocacy and lobbying for adoption of the Draft Law on Domestic Violence.
And the facts presented above prove that persistent advocacy on its adoption
should be carried out for authorities involved in decision-making process.
The Coalition to Stop Violence against Women was formed on October 1,
2010 after brutal murder of Zaruhi Petrosyan by her husband and mother-in-law,
and Women’s Rights Center is a founder-member to it. The aim of Coalition is to
change the situation and condition of women in Armenia regarding domestic and
sexual violence. Together with the Coalition Women’s Rights Center constantly
participates in advocacy and lobbying campaigns for adoption of the Law.
In 2013 Coalition launched “Pass the Domestic Violence Law now!”
petition and 1507 people joined it. The petition, a two-page introductory
letter and the Draft Law were submitted to the Prime Minister of RA. WRC truly
believes that the ratification of this Law and its further application may
greatly influence on decrease of domestic violence cases, as well as on
reduction of family violence criminal cases. Furthermore, the Law may alter
social behavior and eradicate tolerance towards domestic violence. It will also
eminently contribute to the sustainability of families, public health and
democratic reforms making easier the implementation of strategic proceedings on
the cases of domestic violence in Armenia.
In 2013 the
Coalition has redrafted the Law and renamed into the Draft Law on Prevention
of Domestic Violence. In October 2014 during street actions held by
Coalition in different districts of Yerevan and in several regions of Armenia about
2000 signed postcards for support of the Draft Law adoption were gathered. On
October 2, 2014 Coalition to Stop Violence against Women passed the letter
urging to adopt the re-drafted Law to the Prime Minister of RA and to announce
October 1 as the National Day for Combating Domestic Violence in Armenia. In 2016 situation
has been slightly changing to positive under EU pressure within the framework
of human rights budget support programme (2016-2018) according to which
financial support will be provided to RA Government particularly for solution
of different problems in the field of domestic violence. To receive this
support RA Government has undertaken obligations to adopt and ratify CoE Convention
on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and
adopt the Draft Law on Domestic Violence.
Development of Strategic Litigation on Domestic Violence
With the aim to achieve widespread social changes and improvements regarding women’s rights, particularly their right to live life free of violence, WRC carries out strategic litigation.To advocate and lobby domestic violence to the best, it is important to litigate and publicize cases of domestic violence. To raise public awareness on domestic violence and the necessity of the relevant Law in Armenia is another challenge to be faced. Widely condemning and publicizing litigation process of domestic violence incidents is of major importance. In order to develop strategic litigation of domestic violence cases, we realized a number of activities: investigation of international practice on strategic litigation, collection of appropriate cases for strategic litigation, permanent contact with WRC regional Crisis Centers for updates on new beneficiaries and other relevant actions.
In the framework of strategic litigation, our organization provides not only free legal and psychological counseling, but also technical assistance (publicity, media coverage). Women subjected to domestic violence may apply to Women’s Rights Center to arrange their juridical protection within the framework of the given project.
Elaboration of the Training Manual on Domestic Violence
To raise awareness of the issue among police servants dealing with domestic violence and enforce adoption of the relevant Law Women's Rights Center elaborated a Training Manual on Domestic Violence.
This Manual presents general description of domestic violence, its types, peculiarities, reasons and consequences, methods of prevention as well as clarifies the role and interference of police servants in similar situations.
The Manual is intended for the students of RA Police Academy, RA Police Training Center and RA Police servants but it can be also useful for the students of Law departments, researchers and lecturers, governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with domestic violence issues.