Public Defender Echoes Cases of Gender-based Violence against Women

We have witnessed appalling crimes in recent days. Gender-based violence against women has reached unprecedented brutality. These femicide cases are a tragedy not only for the families but for the whole society. This is a problem that we could not overcome.

The study of the cases of murder and attempted murder of women in recent years show that the majority of the cases were committed by partners, former partners or persons who had been refused partner relations. It once again shows the high level of gender inequality in the country.

Despite the seriousness and scales of the problem, the existing legislation and action plans face the problem of effective implementation in practice. No effective steps have been taken to improve the legal and institutional space. The use of safeguards against domestic violence and response from the relevant authorities cannot meet the existing needs.

According to reports, the victim of the 12 July murder had appealed to the law enforcement agency, which limited its actions only to use of a warning letter. Despite a number of appeals made by the Public Defender, the vicious practice of application of warning letters has not been eliminated. This is also proved by the cases studied by the Public Defender's Office. In addition, no individual risk assessment is carried out, which could have prevented recurrence of cases. I call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to make a clear definition about the issue in the shortest possible time.

In addition, the role of social workers and their involvement in the study of domestic violence cases remain unclear; no effective monitoring is carried out for the prevention of similar cases in the future; despite the repeated calls and promises, the convention on violence against women, its causes and consequences has not been ratified so far, whereas it could have made very significant changes to the existing mechanisms. Given all this, it is especially unfortunate that the MPs could not see the need for a definition of femicide and did not support the initiative of certain MPs that would once again stress the relevance and importance of the issue.

The Public Defender calls on the Government to immediately ensure that appropriate authorities take timely, effective and accountable measures. Special attention should be paid to each notification about domestic violence and domestic conflict and all appropriate measures must be taken for the prevention and elimination of violence against women.

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