Bulgarian Judges and Police Trained on the Implementation of the Law on Protection Against Domestic Violence
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 11:30 AM

Contributed by: Genoveva Tisheva- Managing Director of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation

From 22nd to 26th May 2006 the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, together with The Advocates for Human Rights conducted a series of seminars in Sofia for representatives of judiciary and the police on the effective implementation of the Law on Protection Against Domestic Violence in Bulgaria. These seminars were the second phase of the trainings conducted at the end of November - beginning of December 2005 on the same topic funded by a grant from the Oak Foundation. The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation and The Advocates for Human Rights have had a partnership in women’s rights protection and especially in the protection against domestic violence for more than ten years.

The training seminars were conducted as a joint project of the two partner organizations aiming at improving the capacity of Bulgarian institutions to implement the Law on Protection Against Domestic Violence in Bulgaria. About 200 professionals were trained at the two sessions and have received certificates for attendance. The events provoked great interest and were found to be a very successful experience sharing on both the Bulgarian and the American side. Participants had the opportunity to exchange experience in the field of domestic violence protection with prominent experts from Minnesota: Mrs. Loretta Frederick, Judge Mary Lou Klas, Sergeant Scott Jenkins from the Duluth Minnesota police department, and Mrs. Cheryl Thomas, Director of the Program for Women’s Rights of The Advocates for Human Rights.

The training seminars were possible thanks in part to the good contacts between the BGRF and Bulgarian police and Courts, as well as a result of the functioning of the network of representatives of various institutions and organizations in the country which have been built in the last six years – a network of social workers, lawyers, psychologists, police officers – all working in the field of domestic violence.

Among the main problems discussed during the training sessions were: strategies for rapid intervention and effective protection of the victims, as well as for prosecuting the perpetrators, strategies for full legal protection of the victims – both by penal and civil law procedure. The development of an interdisciplinary approach and the need of coordinated response of all institutions and organizations in the community against domestic violence was also a central problem subject to discussion.