Government Blocks Passage of Domestic Violence Bill

On 21 January 2013, the Armenian government blocked the passage of what would have been Armenia’s first law addressing the problem of domestic violence.  The proposed bill appropriated funding for the protection and treatment of domestic violence victims. 

Currently, victims of domestic violence must seek help from a variety of non-government organizations. However, due to a lack of funding, these organizations are unable to meet victim demands. A 2008 survey revealed that approximately 3 in 10 Armenian women are subject to physical violence in the home.  Over the past two years, more than 2,500 calls were placed to the Women’s Rights Centre from victims of domestic violence, and during a six month period in 2012, six women died as the result of domestic violence inflicted by husbands and fathers-in-law.  Although the Armenian police have slowly become more aware of, and responsive to, domestic violence, there still exists a disabling lack of legal mechanisms for prosecuting and convicting abusers. 

Such statistics indicate that the Armenian government must take legislative action that both criminalizes abusive conduct and offers necessary support to human rights organizations seeking to provide protection, shelter, and rehabilitation to victims.  Lala Ghazarian, head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare’s Department for Family, Women, and Childcare Issues remains confident in the government’s ability and willingness to enact such legislation, and many activists remain hopeful that a domestic violence bill will be adopted by 2015.

Compiled from: Gayane Abrahamyan, “Domestic Violence Taking High Toll in Armenia,” Inter Press Service News Agency (February 5, 2013).