Increasingly the issue of domestic violence in Armenia is a topic for public discussion. Yet, greater attention to the issue isn’t yet translating into an expansion of programs to alleviate suffering and address policy shortcomings.
In 2012, Armenia set a grim record for domestic violence when six women, ranging in age from 21 to 50 years old, died over the course of six months in incidents involving their husbands or fathers-in-law. Collectively, the six dead women left behind 12 children. No official registry of domestic-violence attacks exists in Armenia. But a 2008 survey of 1,000 Armenian women by Amnesty International found that more than three out of 10 had suffered from physical abuse, and 66 percent from psychological abuse.
The outcry over the recent deaths prompted activists to believe that the government would start making state funds available for the protection and treatment of victims of domestic violence. But on January 21, the government blocked passage of what would have been the country’s first domestic-violence law, saying that revisions should be made to existing legislation, or to the bill itself.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan.