Domestic Violence Victims Are Exerted Pressure on in Armenia
After the investigation of domestic violence cases in Armenia quite often biased decisions are made. The court views even a case of murder as a crime out of jealousy and makes very mild verdicts. As a result, the number of domestic violence cases increases, believe civil society representatives.

The speakers believe investigation of domestic violence cases becomes even harder because of the stereotypical attitude that the society has. “In cases when a murder was viewed as a crime out of jealousy, there is a stereotype that it is important to keep a man’s honor, so as the man will honorably get out of prison,” said Zara Hovhannisyan.

The Media Center held a discussion on the domestic violence and the work of law enforcement agencies. The speakers included: Zara Hovhannisyan, Program Coordinator at the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women; Sona Harutyunyan, Society without Violence, NGO; Nona Galstyan, Lawyer at Women’s Support Center; and Hasmik Movsesyan, Deputy Head of Yerevan Department of Alimony Exaction, Compulsory Enforcement Service of Judicial Acts.

Nona Galstyan said that neither police nor court has a balanced approach about domestic violence cases. “Of course, jealousy, anger and other subjective factors can easily create a ground that the perpetrator will be appointed disproportionate punishment or even will avoid responsibility,” she said, adding, that in many cases perpetrator uses child as a pressure to make the victim to withdraw the complaint submitted to the police.

Problems also arise in cases of judicial acts. Particularly, one of the parents might influence a child or children, so as they wouldn’t want to communicate with one of the parents, when the childcare is given to either father or mother by court. “When we turn to the CES, they say we cannot do anything, there is an act, but we cannot interfere in any way. How to make CES do the acts, when a parent applies to the court, spends money, effort and time, and it turns out that even with court verdict he/she cannot take child under his/her care,” asked Nona Galstyan.

“When a child cries and says that he/she doesn’t want to go to mother/father, we cannot force him/her to. A child is not an object for us to take from one parent and give the other one,” said Hasmik Movsisyan.

The prevention of domestic violence will be possible after adopting legislation preventing domestic violence.

“The relevant law is long ago submitted to the National Assembly, but the process seems to never end. There are many cases, when a woman repeatedly turned to police, however, the police hasn’t done any satisfactory work,” concluded Zara Hovhannisyan.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor/Coordinator

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