Strengthening the Response to Domestic Violence in Armenia
Domestic violence is one of the most pressing social issues Armenia faces, with nearly a quarter of women in partnerships subjected to physical violence and nearly half-subjected to psychological violence. Violence serves to reinforce gender inequality and maintain discriminatory norms that limit women from realizing their human rights, while also compounding existing barriers to their full and active participation in democratic life. The elimination of violence against women and girls is thus vital to ensuring their full participation in democratic processes. In 2017, it seemed as though Armenia was making strides with regard to the legislation on domestic violence by adopting a domestic violence law and signing the Istanbul Convention (IC). However, Armenia continues to lack comprehensive protection measures for victims of domestic violence. In fact, the IC is yet to be ratified by the Armenian government.
The project aims to strengthen the response to domestic violence in Armenia by:
- building the capacity of CSOs, mainly women’s rights organisations;
- advocating for the ratification and effective implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention (IC);
- strengthening the police and criminal justice response to domestic violence and aligning the professional practices of CSOs with those of other justice chain actors;
- increasing societal awareness about domestic violence and gender equality by facilitating support groups for women and girls across Armenia.
The NHC’s implementing partner is the Women’s Support Centre in Yerevan.
The project will be conducted through the implementation of three key activities:
- Advocacy trajectory: 3 full-day trainings for CSOs from all regions in Armenia, aimed at the formulation of an advocacy strategy. The development of the strategy will be followed by a roundtable session with CSOs and key stakeholders, including the ministries, police, and MPs.
- CSOs and Police retreat on police response: 2-day retreat aimed at facilitating discussion, sharing professional experiences and aligning best practices. Discussions will centre around gaps in the police response and ways in which to improve the multi-sectoral response to combat domestic violence.
- Support groups & awareness and life skills trainings: In total 100 women and girls will participate in 4 support groups across 4 regions of Armenia where domestic violence crisis centers have been established. They will discuss topics relating to healthy versus abusive relationships and will be offered life skills training to think critically about decision-making, problem solving, effectiv communication, interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, and assertiveness through a variety of hands-on techniques and exercises.
To tackle the first two objectives CSO representatives will be recruited to participate in training, strategy development, and advocacy sessions. CSO representatives who participate in the program will then hold working meetings with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Police Department, as well as MPs and other stakeholders identified in the advocacy strategy. The CSOs and 30 police from various regions across Armenia will also participate in a retreat, to facilitate discussion and align best practices on ways in which to improve the multi-sectoral response to combat domestic violence, including properly supporting victims of domestic violence and referring cases.
To achieve the last objective, the NHC together with the Women’s Support Centre, will:
- Invite 100 women and girls to participate in support groups;
- At 4 regional crisis centers across Armenia;
- Using a rights-based approach, trained service providers and facilitators will invite women and girls to participate in weekly small group sessions at each location.
We hope to improve the capacity of Armenian CSOs to advocate on the implementation of the Istanbul convention, to increase their participation in democratic processes, and bring forward the voices of women victims of domestic violence in policy-making.
- Name: Strengthening the Response to Domestic Violence in Armenia
- Funder: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
- Partners: Women’s Support Centre (WSC)
- Project period: January 2022-December 2022
- Budget: 72540 EUR
- NHC Project Manager: Emma Oosten