Tajikistan: New Law on Domestic Violence

In January 2013, Tajikistan passed its first law to combat domestic violence. According to news sources, the law draws on the experience of Indonesia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova, as well as suggestions from Tajik civil society.

The law provides free medical and legal assistance to domestic violence victims. Those convicted of domestic abuse will be fined and sentenced to 5-15 days in jail. Victims are encouraged to obtain assistance from centers, where they can also find temporary shelter. Although the majority of victims that have sought protection in the past are women, the law also looks to protect men and children. With a focus on prevention, family counseling and psychological counseling are a few of the preemptive measures provided through the new law.
 
More than 80% of Tajik women have been victims of domestic violence at some point, but very few of them have reported their abuse to the police. “Victims are reluctant to file complaints, fearing the husband or his family's revenge or the shame they may be exposed to,” noted Human Rights Center analyst Larisa Aleksandrova. Although the new law is a good starting point for Tajikistan, more needs to be done to help change mind-sets throughout the community. According to Zebo Sharipova, leader of the League of Women’s Lawyers, the law is “fairly good,” but one would like to see it “set higher standards for accountability for government agencies and the judiciary.” Despite criticism that more needs to be done in the fight to stop domestic violence in Tajikistan, the new law is an example of the progress that is being made in the country to put an end to abuse.  
 
Compiled from: Nabiyeva, Dilafruz, “Tajikistan Fights Domestic Violence,” Center Asia Online, (04 March 2013) & “Tajik Lower Chamber Passes Anti-Domestic Violence Bill,” Center Asia Online (19 December 2012).