Elaboration of Appropriate Legal Mechanisms
on domestic violence vary by country. Unfortunately there is no appropriate Law
and supplementary Legal Package on domestic violence in Armenia at the moment,
which will assist in the resolution of different problems in this sphere.
Working with women-victims of domestic violence every day we are convinced that
a woman has to be free from all forms of violence in order to become
a full member of society and take part in social, economic, political and
cultural life of the country.
current situation on domestic violence in Armenia it must be noted that
criminal cases are covered under the clauses of the Criminal Code of RA that
concerns willful infliction of health of different degrees. There are no
specially trained police officers, judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and
attorneys who would see in the abused woman a victim and won’t be reluctant to
support her. At the same time, they do not have sufficient legal mechanisms and
tools at their disposal to protect victims of domestic violence and punish
abusers. Due to the absence of Family Courts women often have to wait for quite
a long period to have their cases considered in queue order. Most of the judges
are not aware enough of domestic violence phenomenon. Moreover, the majority of
them do not realize difference between violence in general and domestic
violence and are men inclined to blame women. They have deeply rooted attitude
that domestic violence is an inner «family» matter and even in case of seeking
divorce they prefer not to break the family. All the above mentioned brings to
the fact that most domestic violence cases remain under-reported or
non-reported at all.
Elaboration of the Draft Law on Domestic Violence
2007 - 2009 the Draft Law on Domestic Violence was elaborated by
Women’s Rights Center on the basis of its more than 10 years experience in the
area of domestic violence, then revised by the group of international and local
experts, and submitted to RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in September
2009 for further circulation. In 2010 Armenian Government took certain steps to
combat gender based violence, including domestic violence. According to
the decree N 213-A issued by the Prime-Minister of RA on March 30, 2010 State
Interagency Commission on Combating Gender Based Violence has been established.
The Commission has brought together about 40 representatives of key state
agencies, civil society and the international community active in the field. Women's
Rights Center is a member of this Commission, the goal of which is to raise the
effectiveness of events and elaborate certain mechanisms to prevent gender
based violence. Within the framework of it a Working Group was formed with the
purpose to elaborate National Action Plan on Combating Gender Based Violence.
During Working Group meetings WRC presented the most crucial points enforcing
advocacy and lobbying of the Draft Law on Domestic Violence, which gave its
positive results: on November 12th, 2010 it was presented to RA Government for
consideration. The circulation and public discussion period of the Draft came
to its end and its supplemented version was presented to the consideration and
verification of the Prime Minister of RA on the 28th of November, 2012.
Unfortunately, on February 11, 2013 the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
received conclusion from the Government according to which the adoption of such
Draft was considered not reasonable. Instead, the Government projected to
include the drafted items in other legislative acts.
as long as Armenia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol, and RA
Government developed the National Action Plan on Improving the Status of Women
and Enhancing Their Role in Society (2004-2010) and the Strategic Action Plan
to Combat Gender-based Violence (2011-2015) WRC deems that the situation may
undergo some changes.
Advocacy and Lobbying
of the most important directions of Women’s Rights Center’s activity is
constant advocacy and lobbying for adoption of the Draft Law on Domestic
Violence. And the facts presented above prove that persistent advocacy on its
adoption should be carried out for authorities involved in decision-making
Coalition to Stop Violence against Women was formed on October 1, 2010 after
brutal murder of Zaruhi Petrosyan by her husband and mother-in-law, and Women’s
Rights Center is a founder-member to it. The aim of Coalition is to change the
situation and condition of women in Armenia regarding domestic and sexual
violence. Together with the Coalition Women’s Rights Center constantly
participates in advocacy and lobbying campaigns for adoption of the Law.
2013 Coalition launched “Pass the Domestic Violence Law now!” petition and 1507
people joined it. The petition, a two-page introductory letter and the Draft
Law were submitted to the Prime Minister of RA. WRC truly believes that the
ratification of this Law and its further application may greatly influence on
decrease of domestic violence cases, as well as on reduction of family violence
criminal cases. Furthermore, the Law may alter social behavior and eradicate
tolerance towards domestic violence. It will also eminently contribute to the
sustainability of families, public health and democratic reforms making easier
the implementation of strategic proceedings on the cases of domestic violence
2013 the Coalition redrafted the Law and renamed into the Draft Law on Prevention
of Domestic Violence. In October 2014 during street actions held by
Coalition in different districts of Yerevan and in several regions of Armenia
about 2000 signed postcards for support of the Draft Law adoption were
gathered. On October 2, 2014 Coalition to Stop Violence against Women passed
the letter urging to adopt the re-drafted Law to the Prime Minister of RA and
to announce October 1 as the National Day for Combating Domestic Violence in
Armenia. In 2016 situation has been slightly changing to positive under EU
pressure within the framework of human rights budget support programme
(2016-2019) according to which financial support will be provided to RA
Government particularly for solution of different problems in the field of
domestic violence. To receive this support RA Government has undertaken
obligations to adopt and ratify CoE Convention on preventing and combating
violence against women and domestic violence and adopt the Draft Law on
Domestic Violence. RA Ministry of Justice iniated a working group which works
on the development of the zero Draft of the Law.
Development of Strategic Litigation on Domestic Violence
With the aim to achieve widespread social changes and improvements
regarding women’s rights, particularly their right to live life free of
violence, WRC carries out strategic litigation.To advocate and lobby domestic
violence to the best, it is important to litigate and publicize cases of
domestic violence. To raise public awareness on domestic violence and the
necessity of the relevant Law in Armenia is another challenge to be faced.
Widely condemning and publicizing litigation process of domestic violence
incidents is of major importance. In order to develop strategic litigation of
domestic violence cases, we realized a number of activities: investigation of
international practice on strategic litigation, collection of appropriate cases
for strategic litigation, permanent contact with WRC regional Crisis Centers
for updates on new beneficiaries and other relevant actions.
the framework of strategic litigation, our organization provides not only free
legal and psychological counseling, but also technical assistance (publicity,
media coverage). Women subjected to domestic violence may apply to Women’s
Rights Center to arrange their juridical protection within the framework of the
Elaboration of the Training Manual on Domestic Violence
raise awareness of the issue among police servants dealing with domestic
violence and enforce adoption of the relevant Law Women's Rights Center
elaborated a Training Manual on Domestic Violence.
Manual presents general description of domestic violence, its types,
peculiarities, reasons and consequences, methods of prevention as well as
clarifies the role and interference of police servants in similar situations.
Manual is intended for the students of RA Police Academy, RA Police Training
Center and RA Police servants but it can be also useful for the students of Law
departments, researchers and lecturers, governmental and non-governmental
organizations dealing with domestic violence issues.
Awareness Raising on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
WRC uses every opportunity to spread information on medical
abortion, the perspectives and advantages of the safe abortion method that
became available in the country.
Activities on raising public
awareness were considered necessary to carry out not only in Yerevan, but in
the regions as well. A significant importance was given to informing women on
safe abortion, on possibilities to acquire knowledgeable consultation of drug
Informative Booklets on Medical
Abortion have been elaborated and disseminated during the
trainings by the doctors-participants (obstetricians - gynecologists) to women
during their visits to relevant institutions.The maternal homes and clinics
happened to be provided with the large amount of booklets for informational
dissemination among the patients as well.
To get acquainted to the booklet
please follow the link: http://wrcorg.am/en/publications.htm
Means of mass media are also engaged
in promotion of the method as well.
Series of TV programs devoted to women’s sexual and reproductive
health and rights
Women’s Rights Center
organized series of television programs in different regions of Armenia:
Gegharkunik, Lori and Kotayk. The first TV program took place on September 28,
2015, which is the International Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal
Abortion and is aimed to disseminate information on safe abortion method
worldwide. The programs were in Q&A format and hosted Dr. G. Avagyan, the
Head of Maternal and Reproductive Health Department of RA Ministry of Health,
Dr. V. Hovhannisyan, the Head of the Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics
of Maternity Hospital of Gegharkunik region, Dr. A. Avalyan, the Head of the
Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics of Maternity Hospital of Lori region
and Dr. V. Adamyan from the Department of Postpartum Care of Maternity Hospital
of Kotayk marz. This series of programs was one more opportunity to shed light
on the issue of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. During the
programs current situation on abortions in different regions and in Armenia in
whole was introduced and advantages of medical abortion comparing to other
methods of pregnancy termination were accessed. The lack of awareness and
knowledge of population on the issue of sexual and reproductive health and
rights was underlined by all guests. The new Clinical Guideline on provision of
medical abortion in the first and second trimesters was presented during the TV
programs and Dr. Avagyan mentioned that it would be provided to the Maternity
Hospitals of Armenia to make the process of safe termination of pregnancy
guaranteed. The TV programs were concluded with encouraging women to have a lot
of children and in case of unwanted pregnancies to choose safe abortion method
of pregnancy termination.
Revised Clinical Standard on Organization and Delivery of Medical Aid in
Within the framework of the research study on the
2nd trimester of unwanted pregnancy medical abortion
implemented at the Republican Institute of Reproductive Health,
Perinatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology the Working Group revised the
already published Clinical Standard (2010). The aim of the republished Clinical
Guideline is to assist doctors in using evidence-based practice when providing
comprehensive medical aid in terminating unwanted pregnancy. It suggests
medical abortion as an alternative way of terminating unwanted pregnancy. The
Guideline includes general information on pregnancy termination in Armenia,
organization and performance of medical abortion in the first and second
trimester, drugs and prescription terms for medical abortion, indications,
contraindications and precautions of medical abortion, getting rid of side
effects and treatment of complications.
Evaluation and monitoring research study in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor
Women’s Rights Center (WRC) has continued its activities to raise
awareness on medical abortion method, promote access to medical abortion
focusing on the needs of women in Armenia.
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.
Training on MA in Yerevan
Two meetings on medical abortion in
Armenia were held on April 16 - 17, 2012. Co-principal investigator and study
monitor from Georgia and New York organized a dissemination meeting in Gyumri
followed by the training on medical abortion in Yerevan. These meetings were
intended to present findings of medical abortion studies in Yerevan, Gyumri and
Vanadzor, mechanism of mifepristone-misoprostol application in medical
abortion, its indications and contraindications, as well as provision of
medical assistance according to the guideline recommendations.
During dissemination meeting in
Gyumri doctors from Yerevan and different regions of Armenia shared their
experience on medical abortion providing facts, statistics and other
information. According to the statistics provided by F. Grigoryan (obstetrician-gynecologist
of Gyumri Maternity Home) medical abortion is practiced in the region for 1-1,5
years. Since, during 5-10 weeks more than 100 women applied for medical
abortion, and 96 out of 100 women were performed successfully. According to G.
Grigoryan, the principle investigator from Gyumri Maternity Home, and A.
Avalyan, the principle investigator from Vanadzor Maternity Home, this fact is
indicative of the increase in the number of women applying for medical abortion
which in its turn promotes development of family planning as well as protection
of women’s sexual and reproductive health. During the training on
April 17 G. Avagyan, the representative from RA Ministry of Health, introduced
her presentation on medical abortion in Armenia followed by the practical work
including discussion of various medical abortion cases. In the result of these
meetings it became evident that medical abortion in Armenia is safer and more
applicable method which increase acceptability of abortion services in Armenia.
Press conference on Medical Abortion
On January 23, 2012 a press
conference on medical abortion was convened by Women's Rights Center to discuss
this modern, safe and effective method of unwanted pregnancy interruption. The
press conference was welcomed and moderated by Susanna Vardanyan. She
highlighted that since 2007 Women's Rights Center has been working in the field
of protection of women's sexual and reproductive health and rights.
According to S. Vardanyan women
frequently go to pharmacies, buy random pills, and terminate pregnancy without
consulting with the doctors, usually using only one medicine instead of two.
The latter can have a detrimental effect on women's health. During the press
conference the doctors highlighted the fact they did not encourage abortions in
any case; however, in case of unwanted pregnancy termination, women should
apply to medical abortion under the supervision of a doctor.
The other advantage of medical
abortion is that it is safer and more painless, and its cost is almost the same
as for the surgical one. S. Vardanyan paid attention to the correct usage of
the medicines, as in other case it could have unfavorable consequences for a
woman. Dr. Harutyunyan mentioned that sometimes women use only one medicine
instead of two because of the price and lack of knowledge; however, for their
safety women should apply to doctors in order to eliminate further
Round table discussion on Medical Abortion
On July 15, 2011 a
round table discussion on medical abortion was organized by Women's Rights
Center. Representatives from the Ministry of Health of Armenia, doctors and
principal investigators from Gyumri and Vanadzor, thirty-three participants -
obstetrician/gynecologists from different medical institutions, as well as 6
different mass media representatives were present at the discussion.
Dr. R. Abrahamyan
introduced their experience and good practice on medical abortion method and
medications - mifepristone and misoprostol, its regimens, dosage, the achieved
results and the effectiveness of the medications (i.e. no life threat, female
fertility restoration, etc.). The round table participants made suggestions,
particularly everybody agreed that drugs for medical abortion should be sold
only by doctor's prescription. Otherwise, women unaware of the medication
regimens could freely buy the medication and use without doctor's control. This
could lead to many dangerous problems, even lethal ones.
Another important issue of raising
awareness among women to prevent the usage of the medications without doctor's
prescription was raised by S. Vardanyan. According to her various
awareness-raising campaigns should be organized. For example, TV shows where
discussion on medical abortion service should be launched.