Human rights groups in Azerbaijan dispute the government’s claim that domestic violence is declining in the country. The Azerbaijani government has released new data indicating that the reported number of domestic violence cases dropped more than fifty percent between the years 2009 and 2015. The government attributes the lower number of reported domestic violence incidents to changes in state policy, including the creation of a database to track offenders and at-risk groups, as well as awareness raising by government officials. However, human rights workers say the government’s statistics are misleading and do not account for the fact that many cases of domestic violence in Azerbaijan are un-reported due to cultural standards that normalize violence against women and deter women from seeking help. They argue that the country’s policies focus on preventative measures, but do not provide clear guidelines for handling actual cases of domestic violence or protecting victims.
Compiled from: Zeynalova, Vafa, Activists Dispute Azeri Domestic Violence Figures, Institute for War & Peace Reporting (April 26, 2016).