New Report: How the Law is Failing Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eurasia

Equality Now has published Roadblocks to Justice, a 2019 report detailing how laws in several Eurasian countries deny justice to survivors of sexual assault. After analyzing the policies of 15 different countries in the former Soviet Union, the study concludes that survivors are systematically discriminated against when they seek legal recourse. According to the report, the practice of informal reconciliation is especially problematic, allowing law enforcement to discourage survivors from pursuing an investigation and enabling perpetrators to coerce their victims into silence. Narrow definitions of sexual violence and the exemption of specific acts from criminal liability have also contributed to the problem. For example, perpetrators who marry their victim or show repentance for their crimes could be directly released from punishment. Adolescent girls who have experienced forced marriage, child marriage, or bride kidnapping are particularly vulnerable.

The report provides detailed recommendations for correcting these flaws within the legal systems of Eurasian countries. These recommendations include aligning definitions of sexual violence with international standards, removing provisions that exempt perpetrators from responsibility under certain circumstances, eliminating discrimination from investigation procedures, and prioritizing the prosecution of marital rape cases.

The report is available in multiple languages.


Compiled from: Roadblocks to Justice: How the Law is Failing Survivors of Sexual Violence in EurasiaEquality Now (January 2019).