“We suggest enacting the law phase by phase. It is not obligatory and, moreover, it is not possible to put it into effect to the hilt on the very first day of the law adoption. The law is misinterpreted and, in this regard, there is no political will. Domestic violence is not observed as a real-time nationwide issue though it is rather widespread in Armenia,” said Anna Nikoghosyan, head of the Society without Violence NGO.
The law enforcement representatives often have poor idea about domestic violence, qualifying such acts of violence as crime cases, Nona Galstyan, lawyer at the Women’s Support Center believes.
“Both the court and investigation agencies do not focus on peculiarities of a domestic violence case. The bill actually aims to prevent domestic violence, protect and support victims,” she said. The lawyer added the bill specifies prevention tools and mechanisms to ensure appropriate protection and security for a victim.
“Actually, it prohibits providing information about victims or their temporary residence, approaching closer than 100 meters or contacting by phone or mail. It also defines provision of temporary residence for a victim. All these requirements are not included in our laws. NGOs ensure them only at the amateur level,” noted Galstyan, adding the law is developed, in addition, to raise awareness among law enforcement agencies.
Tatevik Aghabekyan, Project Manager of Emergency Services against Sexual Assault at the Women's Resource Center, spoke on the discussions over the bill held a month earlier at the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs and State and Legal Affairs.
“The committee heads are willing to cooperate with us. Actually, it is time for them to act but we have agreed to set up a working group. Perhaps the bill needs certain amendments but I don’t think it is necessary to omit some leading provisions,” said Aghabekyan.
With respect to Armenian’s presentation at the UN Universal Periodic Review, the speakers agreed there is a positive shift in coping with discrimination and violence against women.
“Most of the countries described the adoption of legal mechanisms aimed at preventing gender discrimination and domestic violence. Obviously, the world admits the existence of the issue in Armenia and countries come with suggestions to make improvements here. It should drive our Government to actions, becoming leverage for adopting domestic violence law,” added Nikoghosyan.