Morocco Launches Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 5:24 PM

In a 17 March 2009 article, the Inter-Press Service News Agency (IPS) reported that Moroccan society recently stepped up its efforts to end domestic violence against women. In February 2009, two nongovernmental organizations, the Union for Women's Action and the Anaruz Network of listening centers, started an awareness campaign in Casablanca. The campaign included community forums to educate citizens and discuss the problem, air time dedicated by radio and other media for victims to call in to share their stories, and an additional hotline for women seeking assistance.

Domestic violence is not uncommon in Morocco. In 2007, the Moroccan Secretariat for the Family and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) jointly conducted a study which, according to IPS, found that “nearly 28,000 acts of violence were called into a free hotline set up to give legal help and counselling to women” and that “just over 75 percent of reported assaults were committed by husbands.”

Once a woman calls the hotline, her options are to either file a complaint with the crown prosecutor or to hire an attorney. Divorce is one option; under the new Family Code which entered force in 2006, women in violent marriages have the right to initiate divorce proceedings and judges must rule on these cases within six months. Before the amendments, IPS said women could not initiate divorce, and cases could take three to four years to finalize. Filing criminal charges against an abuser is a more difficult option; under the current Penal Code, a woman’s verbal testimony of abuse is not enough evidence to convict her husband of a crime. Since the campaign began, the hotlines have experienced an increased number of calls.

For the full text of the IPS article, please click here.

For background information on the Secretariat and UNFPA study, please click here (PDF, 7 pages).

Compiled from:

Amina Barakat for Inter-Press Service News Agency (IPS), RIGHTS-MOROCCO: Renewed Efforts to End Violence Against Women (17 March 2009).

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Violence Against Women Case Studies 2007, “Chapter 4: Morocco: Pulling Together to Protect Women’s Rights” (PDF, 7 pages) (accessed 18 March 2009).