Women’s Rights Center works in the following areas:
1) domestic violence against women and their
2) women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights,
3) supplementary activities
against women and their children occurs across the world in various cultures
and affects people of all economic statuses. Domestic violence is any abusive,
violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member
of a family or household on another. The purpose of domestic violence is to
establish and exert power and control over another. It allows the perpetrator
to gain control of the victim through fear and intimidation. Domestic violence
is a pattern of abusive and threatening behaviors that may include physical,
emotional, economic and sexual violence as well as intimidation, isolation and
coercion. This phenomenon has been usually viewed as a private family
matter that need not involve society, police or government. The problem of
domestic violence is not nation or country-specific - the whole world looks for
effective means towards combating it. Armenia is not an exception among other countries of
the world where domestic violence exists in all its types.
more than 16 years that Women’s Rights Center works on domestic violence in
three directions: law enforcement, supportive services and raising
awareness and educational campaigns manifesting holistic approach to the
problem. The purpose of these combined activities is prevention of
domestic violence in the country, protection of women-victims and their
children and prosecution of perpetrators.
Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights is another important issue for world society.
Millions of women every year seek to terminate their pregnancies – the estimates based on figures for the year 2000 indicate that out of 210 million pregnancies worldwide, approximately 46 million ended in induced abortion. Nearly half of these abortions were considered to be unsafe (performed by unskilled providers or under unhygienic conditions or both) and resulted in 67,900 deaths.
Armenia has one of the highest abortion rates in the region (2.6 abortions per woman). One factor contributing to high abortion rate is the low use of modern contraception. Expanding choice of abortion services is one of the important steps in improving the quality of women’s reproductive health care.In Armenia, like many of its neighboring countries, abortion is a major method of birth control.
An alternative way to surgical abortion is medical abortion, which is important to introduce and offer to women. For almost two decades now, medical abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol has been shown to be a safe, effective, and acceptable option for terminating unwanted pregnancies. Research focusing on dosage, route of administration, timing of mifepristone and misoprostol administration, gestational age limits, and location of misoprostol administration seeks to improve treatment regimens even further so that they empower women, minimize side effects, maximize efficacy, and are simple enough to administer in rural areas where health services may be poorly equipped.
WRC in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of RA works towards professional capacity building of gynecologists to use medical abortion as safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning and alternative to surgery. 2 new medicines – misoprostol and mifepristone have been registered in Armenia and about 700 women with unwanted pregnancy were provided with free relevant medicine and medical assistance during 2009-2010 years.
A monitoring and evaluation research study dating from the period of April, 2013 - 30 September, 2013 was held in 5 hospitals in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor, namely, Republican Institute of Perinatology, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health, Yerevan State Medical University, Centre of Family Planning and Sexual Health, Gyumri Maternity Hospital, Vanadzor Medical Center. The research is aimed at following up as how the abortion in the above mentioned 5 research sites was done during the mentioned period, whether doctors inform patients about medical abortion, its benefits, as well as side effects or not, whether the practice of medical abortion has been increased ever since it has been practiced in Armenia, etc.
About 250 women in the clinics who have had a medical abortion were investigated. The results of the research study showed that all the cases of women under examination were engaged successfully.
Alongside with its main working directions (i.e. prevention of domestic violence and women’s reproductive health and rights) WRC carry out Supplementary Activities to reach best results in its work and to cover all spheres of women's rights protection. WRC participates in different meetings, discussions, and actions concerning women's rights protection.
|Provision of Supportive Services on Combating Domestic Violence Issue
Rights Center (WRC) Services are
free of charge and are aimed at revealing cases of domestic violence and
providing adequate assistance to women victims of domestic violence and their
children. From 1997 WRC has launched the National Hot Line
service providing free psychological counseling, legal assistance and social
help to women-victims of domestic violence and their children. When consulting
by phone is not enough to assist them they are invited to Women's Support
and Drop-In Center (WSDC) for provision of face to face
psychological counseling, legal assistance, attorney’s support in court and
social help. Confidentiality is the primary and the most important principle
according to which the National Hot Line and WSDC services are provided. In
different periods from 2002 till 2013 Women's Rights Center operated four
Women’s Support and Drop-In Centers not only in Yerevan, but in the regional
centers of four biggest regions (Vanadzor, Gavar, Ijevan, Kapan) and the Emergency
Shelter and Transitional Housing for women victims subjected to domestic
violence and their children.
All services provided by
Women’s Rights Center serve as data basis for case studies to find out the scales,
forms, geography, causes and consequences of domestic violence for further use
in the advocacy and lobbying process through mass media.
WRC National Hot Line Service provides free
psychological counseling, legal assistance and social help to women-victims of
domestic violence and their children over the phone. Moreover, the service has
an informative significance for attaining information on domestic violence in
Armenia. It helps to understand the causes and peculiarities of domestic
violence and, consequently, to take appropriate precautions and safety measures
and to provide adequate assistance to domestic violence victims in future.
Considering the fact, that the majority of cases can have progressive
character, the National Hot Line Service provides ongoing psychological
counseling and legal assistance. The first psychological counseling is provided
to the caller regardless of the nature of issue. When a caller is already
identified as a victim of domestic violence, she is provided with full range of
services. In the period of January 01, 2014 – August 31, 2014 the National Hot
Line Service registered 1044 calls, 875 of which were on domestic violence (387
primary and 488 repeated). The majority of primary calls on domestic violence
related to psychological violence - 302 calls, calls related to physical
violence made 80 and sexual violence calls were 5.
Support and Drop-In Center
different circumstances there are cases when counseling through the Hot Line is
not enough to provide efficient assistance to women victims of domestic
violence. There are cases when the situation is so complicated that face to
face meetings with women victims are extremely important. Therefore women
victims and their children are invited to Women’s Support and Drop-In Center
for provision of individual psychological counseling, legal assistance,
attorney's support in court and social help. In the period of January 01 -
August 31, 2014 women and their children visited WSDC 349 times: 127 visits of
the total number were primary and 222 follow up visits accordingly. Out of the
127 primary visits 103 visits of women-victims were referred to psychological
abuse in the family, 17 visits referred to physical and 7 visits to sexual
violence correspondingly. Within the framework of comprehensive approach WRC
also provides women victims of domestic violence with legal counseling and
assistance, legal consultation on explaining women's rights, composition of
necessary complaints, claims, and allegations for women-victims of domestic
violence. For the period of January - August 2014 the number of phone
consultations was 560, and the number of personal visits to WSDC for legal counseling
Rights Center holds Women’s
Support Group (WSG) for women-victims of domestic violence who
applied to WRC services. The aim of Women’s Support Group meetings is provision
of regular group psychological therapy for women victims of domestic violence.
This kind of therapy is proved to be very effective. Participation in WSG can
be a key to unlocking the loneliness, shame, and isolation that surround women
victims threatened by domestic violence. Women's Support Group meetings are
held under the slogans “You are not alone" and “It is not your fault” and
fight this isolation on a number of different levels and periodic participation
in these meetings stimulates the rehabilitation of women's psychological balance.
The concluding part of the meetings is lawyer's consultation on women's legal
rights and Q&A sessions for women participants. Throughout the period of
January 01 - August 31, 2014 eight meetings of Women's Support Group were held
with the participation of 56 women.
Children Support Group (CSG) meetings are held for
beneficiaries’ children of different ages with the purpose to unite children
who subjected and witnessed violence in their families. The children who have
experienced this kind of abuse are very vulnerable. They feel helpless and
unprotected and are always worried about themselves, their mother, and their
siblings. The CSG meetings are organized in the friendly and comfortable manner
and our psychologists use different therapy methods including fairy-tale
therapy, art therapy, drama therapy to help these children discover new way of
life analyzing their attitude towards the surrounding world, people and their
family members. Throughout the period of January 01 - August 31, 2014 two CSG
meetings were held with 13 participants involved.