10 March 1999
1. The Commission on Human Rights, at its fifty-fourth session, in resolution 1998/52, welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (E/CN.4/1998/54 and Add.1) and commended her for her analysis of violence in the family, violence in the community, and violence as perpetrated and/or condoned by the State.
2. The present report / The Special Rapporteur would like to thank Lisa Kois, Marge Schuler and My Linh Soland for their invaluable assistance, as well as the numerous individuals and organizations who responded to the Special Rapporteur's request for information. In addition, she would like to thank Janie Chuang, Kathy Hall Martinez, Rebecca Cook, Rosalind Petchesky and Saama Rajakaruna for their invaluable assistance in compiling the addendum on policies and practices that impact women's reproductive rights and contribute to, cause or constitute violence against women./ focuses on States' compliance with their international obligations with respect to domestic violence, specifically in terms of the 1996 report of the Special Rapporteur on violence in the family (E/CN.4/1996/53). In that report, the Special Rapporteur set forth 10 general and 23 specific recommendations to guide State action with respect to violence against women in the family.
3. In an attempt to provide a systematic review of States' compliance with their international obligations with respect to domestic violence, the Special Rapporteur requested Governments to provide her with a written account and copies of the measures taken since 1994, in the context of those which existed prior to that time, to bring State policy and practice into compliance with the recommendations.
4. In particular, the Special Rapporteur sought the following information, first from Governments and subsequently from NGOs:
5. Owing to limitations of space and the specific focus of the present report on violence in the family, the Special Rapporteur has restricted her reporting to measures adopted to combat or provide remedies for violence against women in the family. Despite the specificity of the request, most States provided information of both a specific and a general nature, i.e. on domestic violence, but also on violence against women or the status of women. While the Special Rapporteur appreciates the depth of some State responses, owing to limited space, she was unable to include information of a general nature in this report. The Special Rapporteur noted a general pattern in State reporting: information on domestic violence was generally labelled, highlighted, and often included relevant dates.
6. Defined in both international and national law as the natural and fundamental unit of society, the family has been the focus of very little scrutiny under international law. This is largely a consequence of the traditional division between the public and private spheres and the emphasis in human rights discourse on public sphere violations. Increasingly, however, this is changing. No longer are human rights guarantees restricted solely to the public sphere. They likewise apply to the private realm, including within the family, and oblige the State to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish violations therein.
7. The State, through legal and moral regulation, plays an important role in family life, as well as an important role in determining the status, rights and remedies of individual family actors. Women's traditional familial roles are enshrined in secular and religious laws on, inter alia, sexuality, violence (including marital rape or the lack thereof), privacy, divorce, adultery, property, succession, employment, and child custody. Such laws validate and entrench the dominant ideology of the traditional family and the woman's position within it. Familial ideology is often Janus faced. On the one hand, it offers private space for nurturing and intimacy. On the other hand, it is often the site of violence against women and social constructions of women's role in society that are disempowering.
8. Throughout the world, there exist divisions between the dominant, normative ideal of the family and the empirical realities of family forms. Whether the ideal is the nuclear family or a variation of the joint or extended family, such ideals in many cases are not wholly consistent with the realities of modern family forms. These family forms include, in increasingly large numbers, female-headed households in which women live alone or with their children because of choice (including sexual and employment choices), widowhood, abandonment, displacement or militarization. For example, one researcher has identified 11 distinct family forms in India alone: nuclear, supplemental nuclear, sub-nuclear, single parent, supplemental single parent, collateral joint, supplemental collateral joint, lineal joint, supplemental lineal joint, lineal-collateral joint and supplemental lineal collateral. 2/ Pauline Kolenda, “Regional differences in family structures in India” in Ratna Kapur and Brenda Cossman, Subversive Sites, Feminist Engagements with Law in India (New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1996). /
9. Despite such differences, however, the culturally-specific, ideologically dominant family form in any given society shapes both the norm and that which is defined as existing outside of the norm and, hence, classified as deviant. Thus, the dominant family structure - whether it is dominant in fact or merely in theory - serves as a basis against which relationships are judged. Further, it serves as the standard against which individual women are judged and, in many cases, demonized for failing to ascribe to moral and legal dictates with respect to family and sexuality. The extent to which such concepts apply to and have an impact upon women's lives is mediated by class, caste, race, ethnicity, access to resources and other ways in which women are marginalized. The dominance of familial ideology both within and outside the walls of the family home entrenches women's roles as wives and mothers and impedes women's access to non-traditional roles. Such ideology exposes women to violence both within and outside the home by enforcing women's dependent status, particularly among poor and working class women, and by exposing those women who do not fit within or ascribe to traditional sex roles to gender-based hate crimes. 3/ Ratna Kapur and Brenda Cossman, Subversive Sites, Feminist Engagements with Law in India (New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1996), p. 96./ Such demonization fuels and legitimates violence against women in the form of sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, honour killings and other forms of femicide.
10. It is important to understand that feminist critiques of the oppressive and violent aspects of traditional family forms are neither “anti-family” nor an attempt to destroy the family. Increasingly women's human rights defenders are coming under attack for, among other things, challenging traditional notions of the family. Public denouncements, accusations, harassment and physical violence are increasingly employed against women's human rights defenders. Commentators argue that in order to ensure that women's human rights are protected in both public and private life, the acceptance of non-traditional family forms is necessary. It is essential to recognize the potential for and work to prevent violence against women and the oppression of women within all family forms.
11. International standards articulating norms with respect to marriage and the family have focused, until recently, on issues of marital consent, privacy and children. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 16) and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (art. 23) and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 10) all articulate the right to marry and found a family with free and full consent. The Internal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also articulates the equality of rights of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution (art. 23.4). Such rights are set forth in more detail in the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1962).
12. All international human rights texts underscore the notion of choice (i.e. free and full consent) as the basis for forming a family. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women took a significant additional step in calling for the elimination of “discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations”, not only in terms of the right to enter into marriage with free and full consent and equal rights and responsibilities during marriage and its dissolution, but also in terms of equal rights with respect to reproduction, child-rearing, custody, property and protection against child marriage (art. 16). In its General Recommendation 19 the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) went one step further by recognizing violence against women, including within the family, as a form of discrimination.
13. The Programme of Action adopted by the International Conference on Population and Development affirms the plurality of family forms and recognizes that there is no universal family model. Juxtaposed with the articulation of the family as the basic unit of society is the recognition that the family is socially constructed and thus is affected and transformed by demographic and socio-economic changes. International standards may influence those changes positively by requiring that consent and equality remain the basic principles around which such relationships are reconstructed.
14. Further, while, traditionally human rights texts have given protection to families on the basis of the full and free consent of partners, international norms have now also begun to address the question of sexual autonomy and the right to privacy of individual human beings. Paragraph 96 of the Beijing Platform for Action states, for example, that “the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters relating to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health, free of discrimination, coercion and violence”.
15. One of the primary ways in which dominant familial ideology affects women, as well as men, is through dictates on sexuality. The European Court of Human Rights has recognized same sex marriage as an aspect of article 8, on the right to private life, of the European Convention. In 1994, the Human Rights Committee found that Tasmania's discriminatory sodomy laws were a violation of articles 7 and 2.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee read the category of “sex” in the list of prohibited bases for discrimination in articles 2 and 26 of that Covenant as covering sexual orientation. Asylum law in some countries has also recognized the need to bring sexual orientation within the gambit of international human right's protection. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has recognized in an advisory opinion that lesbians and gay men constitute “members of a particular social group” for the purposes of refugee recognition.
16. As set forth in her first report on domestic violence, the Special Rapporteur calls for a broad understanding of family to include the multiplicity of family forms and provide protection for those within the family, irrespective of family form. The Special Rapporteur has received information about numerous forms of violence against women in the family, including but not limited to traditional forms such as wife battery and domestic assault. The Special Rapporteur has adopted an expansive definition of violence in the family to include “violence perpetrated in the domestic sphere which targets women because of their role within that sphere or as violence which is intended to impact, directly and negatively, on women within the domestic sphere. Such violence may be carried out by both private and public actors and agents. This conceptual framework intentionally departs from traditional definitions of domestic violence, which address violence perpetrated by intimates against intimates, or equates domestic violence with woman-battering” (E/CN.4/1996/53, para. 28).
17. Violence within the family comprises, inter alia, woman-battering, marital rape, incest, forced prostitution, violence against domestic workers, violence against girls, sex-selective abortions and female infanticide, traditional violent practices against women including forced marriage, son preference, female genital mutilation and honour crimes.
18. Honour crimes were not addressed in the Special Rapporteur's earlier report. Since then numerous communications have been sent to her concerning such crimes against women, whereby the family kills a female relative deemed to have defiled the honour of the family. Reportedly, honour crimes are legal in Lebanon. Honour is defined in terms of women's assigned sexual and familial roles as dictated by traditional family ideology. Thus, adultery, premarital relationships (which may or may not include sexual relations), rape and falling in love with an “inappropriate” person may constitute violations of family honour. In many cases, as in cases reported to the Special Rapporteur from Turkey, the male members of the family meet to decide on the execution of the woman. Once this has been decided, the family will often give the woman the opportunity to commit suicide. If she refuses to kill herself, one of the male family members will be forced to kill her. Adolescent boys are often compelled to commit the murder because they will receive a light sentence. The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned about the practice of honour killing and is seeking additional information about such violence and measures that are being undertaken to combat it.
19. International standards clearly prohibit violence against women in the family.
20. According to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to: physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation, and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation. (Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, art. 2, (General Assembly resolution 48/104)).
21. General Recommendation 19 of CEDAW states that violence against women, including violence in the family, is discrimination within the terms of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (para. 31, see document A/47/38).
22. Violence against women in the family raises the jurisprudential issue of State responsibility for private, non-State actors. In her previous report on violence in the family the Special Rapporteur outlined three doctrines put forward by scholars and experts in international law in attempting to deal with this issue of violence against women by private actors. The first, taken from the international law doctrine of State responsibility, was that States have a due diligence duty to prevent, investigate and punish international law violations and pay just compensation. The second doctrine is related to the question of equality and equal protection. If it can be shown that law enforcement discriminates against the victims in cases involving violence against women, then States may be held liable for violating international human rights standards of equality. Finally, scholars have also argued that domestic violence is a form of torture and should be dealt with accordingly.
23. The principle of “due diligence” is gaining international recognition. In accordance with article 4 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, States must “exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons”. General Recommendation 19 of CEDAW states that “under general international law and specific human rights covenants, States may also be responsible for private acts if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent violations of rights, or to investigate and punish acts of violence, and for providing compensation”.
24. The due diligence standard of State responsibility for private actors was discussed in detail by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the judgement of the Velasquez-Rodriguez case handed down on 29 July 1988. In that case, the Government of Honduras was held responsible for violating human rights in the case of disappearances. The Court found that:
Further, the Court held that:
“The State has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent human rights violations and to use the means at its disposal to carry out a serious investigation of violations committed within its jurisdiction, to identify those responsible, to impose the appropriate punishment and to ensure the victim adequate compensation. This obligation implies the duty of State parties to organize the governmental apparatus and, in general, all the structures through which public power is exercised, so that they are capable of juridically ensuring the free and full enjoyment of human rights.”
25. On her field visits concerning violence against women by private actors, the Special Rapporteur has attempted to assess State adherence to the due diligence standard. In so doing, she has relied upon the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and upon General Recommendation 19 of CEDAW and has considered information provided in response to the following questions:
(i) Has the State Party ratified all the international human rights instruments including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women?
(ii) Is there constitutional authority guaranteeing equality for women or the prohibition of violence against women?
(iii) Is there national legislation and/or administrative sanctions providing adequate redress for women victims of violence?
(iv) Are there executive policies or plans of action that attempt to deal with the question of violence against women?
(v) Is the criminal justice system sensitive to the issues of violence against women? In this regard, what is police practice? How many cases are investigated by the police? How are victims dealt with by the police? How many cases are prosecuted? What type of judgements are given in such cases? Are the health professionals who assist the prosecution sensitive to issues of violence against women?
(vi) Do women who are victims of violence have support services such as shelters, legal and psychological counselling, specialized assistance and rehabilitation provided either by the Government or by non-governmental organizations?
(vii) Have appropriate measures been taken in the field of education and the media to raise awareness of violence against women as a human rights violation and to modify practices that discriminate against women?
(viii) Are data and statistics being collected in a manner that ensures that the problem of violence against women is not invisible?
26. In 1998 the first case raising the issue of domestic violence as a violation of human rights was brought before an international tribunal, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. According to the arguments made in the Pamela Ramjattan case, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago breached Ms. Ramjattan's rights when it convicted her of murder and sentenced her to death after failing to consider mitigating factors specific to Ms. Ramjattan's experience as a battered woman. Ms. Ramjattan testified at her trial and has subsequently given sworn evidence that she was subjected to severe forms of domestic violence throughout her eight year common-law marriage. Reportedly, the police, legal aid lawyers, prison authorities, the courts and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago failed to consider the violent abuse which Ms. Ramjattan and her children were subjected to, and the effect of the abuse on her state of mind and her actions.
27. Under the Declaration, Recommendation 19 of CEDAW (Trinidad and Tobago ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1990), the American Convention on Human Rights and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, Ms. Ramjattan's right to life, fair trial, equal protection of the law and non-discrimination on the grounds of sex were reportedly violated. Although the Commission has not yet reached a conclusion in the case, the fact that it has been brought before the Commission is, in itself, an important step in the international movement to guarantee women's human rights. The Special Rapporteur remains concerned about Ms. Ramjattan and is watching the case with interest.
28. In the Spring of 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a note verbale to Governments, requesting them to provide her with information about initiatives taken with regard to violence against women in the family. Subsequently, she sought the same information from non-governmental sources. In both governmental and non-governmental responses, there were common trends, positive and negative. Overwhelmingly, Governments presented a picture which suggested that they are taking steps, as small as they may sometimes be, to address violence in the family. Governments have begun to acknowledge that violence against women in the family is a serious social issue that should be confronted. Formal provisions and policies have been adopted in many States.
29. The Special Rapporteur would like to highlight the encouraging trend in Latin America and the Caribbean to adopt specific legislation on domestic or intra-family violence. Thus far in the 1990s, 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries have adopted such legislation. The Special Rapporteur welcomes these initiatives and encourages Governments to ensure effective implementation. / Mala N. Htun, “Laws and public policies to punish and prevent violence against women in Latin America”, November 1998, draft paper on file with the Special Rapporteur./
30. Generally, as testified to in non-governmental submissions from all regions, however, there is a lack of coordination between the State and civil society in working towards the effective implementation of formal provisions and policies. While some States make an active attempt to consult and include civil society representatives in the process of developing and implementing laws and policies, others have maintained a distant and, at times, antagonistic relationship with NGOs. Overwhelmingly, Governments lack the necessary expertise to develop and implement policy relating to violence against women. Government actors generally, and those within the criminal justice system in particular, continue to subscribe to outdated myths about the role of women in society and the family, and about causes of violence in the family. Systematic training and gender awareness programmes are essential if policies are to be implemented by the criminal justice system.
31. Many States continue to make the erroneous link between alcohol and violence. While alcohol does in many cases exacerbate violence, alcohol does not itself cause violence against women. The focus on alcohol or drugs, rather than on male patriarchal ideology, which has as its ultimate expression male violence against women, undermines the anti-violence movement. Further, resources that should be allocated for support, training and systems' development in respect to family violence against women, is instead allocated to combat alcohol and drug use and provide services to alcoholics and drug-abusers. While such services may be necessary, they should not detract from resource support for violence against women programming.
32. Increasingly, States are using cultural relativist claims to avoid responsibility for positive, anti-violence action. The recognition of heterogeneous or multicultural communities is not at odds with developing comprehensive and multifaceted strategies to combat domestic violence. In all communities, the root causes of domestic violence are similar, even when the justifications for such violence or the forms of such violence vary.
33. Many Governments continue to classify women, children, the elderly, the disabled or any combination of these together as one social group. This arises from the paternal nature of the State, which seeks to protect “vulnerable” groups. While distinct measures must be developed to combat violence against women and provide remedies and support to victim-survivors, the emphasis must be on empowerment rather than care - on social justice rather than social welfare. Women must be treated, in fact and in law, as full citizens, endowed with rights and reason.
34. There is a continuing emphasis on mediation and counselling by police or mediation boards in cases of violence in the family. Police efforts to counsel victims in such cases, which often includes mediation between victim and perpetrator, may serve to undermine the seriousness of crimes of violence against women and, in many instances, may heighten the risk for the victim. While the police, as the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, are in a unique position to link victims with support structures, police officers should not themselves serve as counsellors or mediators. This confuses the role of the police in the minds of the community and may send a message to the victim of domestic violence that the violence perpetrated against her is not serious enough to warrant the intervention of the criminal justice system.
35. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of the Protection from Domestic Violence Act, which was implemented in two stages, on 25 May 1997 and 8 March 1998. The Act not only criminalizes acts of domestic violence, but also provides for protection orders, occupation orders (through which the victim is granted exclusive rights to live in the residence for up to 24 months), tenancy orders (through which the victim is given the exclusive right to occupy a rented residence), and proceedings to be held in camera. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the Government sought outside, non-governmental expertise to: (i) develop a coherent policy and strategy for domestic violence; (ii) propose a set of legal measures; and (iii) implement a framework for training local staff.
36. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the Protection from Domestic Violence Act (1997) provides a mechanism to track the number of reported cases of domestic violence. Since August 1997, 700 cases had been recorded by the Ministry and 127 protection orders and 200 interim protection orders had been issued.
37. Training: Reportedly, an aspect of the work of the Domestic Violence Intervention Units is to conduct training programmes for staff, police and social workers.
38. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the establishment of a decentralized Domestic Violence Intervention Unit in five regions, but encourages the Government to ensure a coordinated national response.
39. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the Minister for Human Rights' sensitivity to issues of violence against women and encourages the Government to devise a comprehensive plan to address violence against women generally and domestic violence specifically.
40. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no statistics were made available by the Government.
41. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that systematic domestic violence training was not reported.
42. Support services: The Special Rapporteur notes with interest the commitment of the Government to proceed systematically, in collaboration with civil society actors, to create centres to hear and provide assistance to women victims of violence. She urges the Government to ensure that these centres provide services to meet the particular needs of battered women.
43. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the initiative, Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, which came out of the National Domestic Violence Summit (November 1997). This initiative calls for coordination between the Commonwealth, states and territories throughout Australia.
44. As a responsibility of each state and territory, laws on domestic violence vary and, therefore, model domestic violence laws are currently under review. The Special Rapporteur welcomes efforts to systematize the law, as well as the efforts made in Victoria and the Northern Territory to tailor strategies specifically for indigenous communities. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to work with indigenous women to accomplish this objective.
45. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that specific statistics with respect to domestic violence were not provided.
46. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes ongoing training programmes aimed at increasing identification of women who have experienced violence and at improving responses to these women by a range of service providers, in particular welfare workers, police officers, the staff of local courts, police prosecutors, emergency personnel and general practitioners. While the Special Rapporteur welcomes general training in respect to gender bias, she encourages the Government to ensure systematic training is undertaken with respect to domestic violence.
47. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the many initiatives to provide support services to victim-survivors of violence in the family, in particular in the form of: transitional support and accommodation; outreach to rural women; the development of health services to meet the particular needs of victim-survivors of domestic violence; bilingual outreach and materials for indigenous women in remote communities; access to Internet facilities for women and victims of violence to gain access to relevant information and services; information and services for battered immigrant women.
48. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the focus, in the Plan for Gender Equality 2000, on the elimination of all forms of violence against women, as well as the use of the definition of violence against women contained in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women: “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts ... whether occurring in public or private life”.
49. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that she was unable to understand the statistics provided by the Government.
50. Training: While the information provided indicated that training of police and prosecutors is being undertaken with respect to violence against women generally, the Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to include systematic training concerning domestic violence as well.
51. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is concerned by reports that “[t]he police has been improving its counselling system to alleviate the mental burden of the victimized women”. As of April 1996, Japan had 307 “daily life support facilities for mothers and children”, with a capacity of 6,043 families. These facilities provide accommodation for "women having no spouse or women under equivalent circumstances together with their dependent children”, which includes battered women and their children. The Special Rapporteur would like to stress the need for separate shelters for battered women and their children. The point at which a woman leaves her violent home is the point at which she is in greatest danger of physical harm, including death. General homes for women fail to provide appropriate services or secure facilities that address the safety issues that arise for women leaving violent homes and the particular emotional needs of battered women and their children. Confidential shelter sites or highly secure shelters may be the only way to ensure such women's safety. Furthermore, there is a need for staff trained in crisis counselling for women and for child victims of family violence. The Special Rapporteur would encourage the Government of Japan to create specific mechanisms to address the above needs.
52. Plan of action: Although the Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the inclusion of violence against women in the 1997 National Action Plan for the Advancement of Women (August 1997), she regrets that information was not provided with respect to domestic violence. There is no indication that domestic violence has been admitted by the Government to be a problem. Further there is no indication that specific measures are being taken to address domestic violence. Official denial of the existence of the problem may serve as an obstacle to victim reporting of such violence. The lack of reporting in turn may fuel the denial.
53. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no statistics were provided.
54. Training: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that general training on violence against women for police, prosecutors, judicial personnel and prison officials was included in the National Action Plan as a goal for the year 2000 and encourages the Government to include specific training programmes on domestic violence within their general violence against women training. The Special Rapporteur seeks additional information about how the National Action Plan is being implemented with respect to training.
55. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the provision for a “well funded drop-in centre for women victims of violence” in the National Action Plan as an objective to be reached by the year 2000. She encourages the Government to ensure appropriate services are provided for victim-survivors of violence against women in the family.
56. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes both the Government's Statement of Policy on Family Violence (1996), which sets out principles to guide all government action, and the Strategic Result Area for the Public Sector (1997-2000).
57. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the passage of the Domestic Violence Act of 1995, which includes provision for: a new single protection order; a broadening of the definition of domestic violence to include psychological abuse; increased penalties for breaches of protection orders; free legal aid with respect to protection orders; and new guidelines to ensure the arrest of violent abusers and the automatic revocation of firearms licences. The Special Rapporteur welcomes provisions that have particular significance for Maori women, including culturally appropriate programmes for Maori women and the recognition that abuse may be perpetrated by members of the wider family group. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to work with Maori women in the development of culturally appropriate programmes.
58. Statistics: In the 18 months since the Domestic Violence Act of 1995 was introduced, 13,702 applications for protection orders have been made and 10,525 temporary and 6,880 final orders have been granted. Ninety-two per cent of the orders have been issued with men as the respondent to the order; 82 per cent of those were classified as cases of domestic violence.
59. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes initiatives to train actors within the criminal justice system on issues of domestic violence. She is particularly encouraged to note cooperative efforts by the State and civil society. For example, an inter-agency training package, entitled “Protecting women and children, an inter-agency response to family violence”, has been developed by the National Collective of Women's Refuge Inc., the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Service and the New Zealand Police. A training manual on anger management was published by the police in 1997. The Special Rapporteur notes the importance of providing services that address the needs of victim-survivors of family violence. The category of victim-survivor inevitably includes women and children; the Special Rapporteur reminds the Government of the need to devise separate programmes for each group.
60. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged by the Government's policy of collaboration with the non-governmental sector and its provision of funding for support services. Further, she welcomes the provisions for services in the Domestic Violence Act, including provisions that allow battered women to be accompanied in court by support people and court-ordered counselling for batterers.
61. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur is pleased to note that, pursuant to the Office of the President issuing a call to action against domestic violence, government officials were convened in July 1997 for a consultation on implementation. The strategies adopted were: (i) formation of an inter-agency task force on generating statistics; (ii) adoption of a fast-lane and one-interview system of investigation; (iii) centre and hospital-based assistance to victims; and (iv) counselling services for both victims and offenders. It was unclear from the information provided whether or in what ways the strategies had been implemented in the year since the consultation.
62. Although the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 reportedly expanded the definition of rape and recognized the existence of marital rape, it nonetheless provided that “[i]n case it is the legal husband who is the offender, the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty: Provided that the crime shall not be extinguished or the penalty shall not be abated if the marriage is void ab initio”.
63. Statistics: Statistics in respect to reported cases of domestic violence were as follows: 5,287 in 1995; 7,425 in 1996; 7,850 in 1997; and 850 in the first quarter of 1998.
64. Training: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note a proposed project entitled “Training on domestic violence for judges, prosecutors, law enforcers and the community” and urges the Government to ensure the implementation of this project.
65. Support services: As of 30 June 1998, a total of 1,227 women's desks had been established in police stations. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to ensure that the women's desks are provided with the necessary resources. A hospital-based crisis intervention centre for “women victims of violence”, which was started in 1993 and was financially supported by the Government in 1997, has handled 433 cases of domestic violence.
66. The Special Rapporteur encourages the creation of special courts to work on issues of domestic violence, but is concerned that the family courts created in the Philippines may not provide adequate remedies for victims of violence in the family.
67. Plan of action: Although the Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of the interagency Women and Family Violence Committee, she is concerned that the Committee does not have a comprehensive framework within which to work.
68. Statistics: The following statistics were provided for reported cases of family violence against women (including murder, voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon or means, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means): 73 in 1995; 40 in 1996; 39 in 1997; and 17 until June 1998. Although the Government points to the statistics as proof that “Singapore's firm handling of crimes in general, and crimes against women in particular, has been effective in reducing crime against women”, the Special Rapporteur wishes to express her concern that the criminal justice perspective of Singapore may discourage women from reporting domestic violence and thus may increase their risk of violence in the home.
69. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the incorporation of family violence in the training syllabus for police officers, but is concerned that such training is framed in terms of “management” which may be at odds with a victim-centred approach. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the collaboration between the police and the Singapore Council of Women's Organizations in undertaking training initiatives.
70. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that police officers inform victims of available services and provide referrals. However, she would seek additional information about the services that the Family Service Centres provide for victim-survivors of domestic violence and would encourage the Government to ensure such services are designed to meet the specific needs of women victim-survivors of family violence.
71. Plan of Action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the elaboration, in November 1996, of a national programme of training, technical assistance and sensitization in relation to violence against women generally, with specific provisions relating to domestic violence.
72. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government does not collect statistics in relation to violence in the family, but is encouraged to note the intention of the Federal Police to develop a mechanism for registering cases of domestic violence. The Linea Mujer hotline received 21,066 calls in 1997 and 12,118 calls in the first half of 1998.
73. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the specific, short-term initiatives of the National Council of Women and the Federal Police Force with respect to training, but urges the Government to undertake systematic training of members of the criminal justice system concerning domestic violence.
74. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the passage, in 1994, of a law on inter-family violence, which sets forth protective measures, through the exclusion of the batterer from the home and the re-entry of the victim into the home, and provides victims with the legal capacity to file a claim, in either a criminal or a family court, without a lawyer. The law also created centres of assistance and established specialized, interdisciplinary teams within the Ministry of Justice, to assist the courts. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the existence, in Buenos Aires, of a government-run 24-hour telephone hotline for women.
75. Plan of action: While the Special Rapporteur welcomes the passage, in 1994, of the Law on Intra-family Violence and the creation of regional commissions to prevent violence in the family, she regrets that more specific information was not provided on the implementation of the law and the functioning of the commissions.
76. Statistics: The number of judicial cases of domestic violence were: 38,200 in 1995; 58,222 in 1996; and 61,015 in 1997.
77. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government has not provided her with information about recent training initiatives.
78. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of a direct telephone line to the police for the filing of complaints and the provision for protection orders, but seeks information on whether and how they are being used.
79. Platform of action: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the establishment in 1996 of the National Directorate of Equity for Women, which is charged with creating policies to combat violence against women, generally, and domestic violence, specifically.
80. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the passage, in 1996, of Law 294 on the Prevention, Elimination and Punishment of Violence against Women in the Family, which covers physical, sexual and psychological violence. New crimes include “crimes against the harmony and unity of the family” and “maltreatment through restriction of freedom”. She is particularly interested in obtaining additional information about the provision on the restriction of freedom as a form of domestic violence. The Special Rapporteur is concerned, however, that punishments are limited to one to six months' imprisonment, indicating that such crimes may not be perceived to be serious.
81. Statistics: There were 51,451 cases of inter-family violence reported in 1996, in which 34,796 of the victims were spouses. Ninety-three per cent of the cases of spousal abuse were perpetrated against women.
82. Training: The Special Rapporteur notes the existence of training programmes for judges, the attorney general's department and the police on the protection of women's human rights; she encourages the Government to ensure that such training covers domestic violence.
83. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the clear articulation of the duty of the police set out in article 20 of Law 294 on intra-family violence, which states that “police officers must give all necessary assistance to avoid the repetition of the violence”. Such measures require the police, inter alia, to take the victim to the closest medical centre, to take the victim to a secure place or to her home to collect her personal belongings, to inform the victim about the need to preserve evidence and how to do so, and to provide information about victims' rights and public and private services. There are 272 family police stations, at which victims can register all cases of family violence and can request psychological assistance and mechanisms to prevent further violence. The Special Rapporteur seeks additional information about how the implementation of these provisions is being monitored and what measures are being taken in cases in which police officers fail to comply with the provisions.
84. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the formulation, in May 1997, of a plan of action to implement the goals and provisions of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with respect to all forms of violence, and the creation of a national group that works to prevent violence and assist victim-survivors of violence within the family, particularly violence against women.
85. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no statistics on domestic violence were provided.
86. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that there was no report of systematic domestic violence training.
87. Support services: The Special Rapporteur notes the existence of general support mechanisms for victims of violence and crime, but urges the Government to develop support mechanisms that specifically address the needs of battered women.
88. The Special Rapporteur is particularly heartened by the inclusion of family violence and the need to remedy family violence in the 1996 peace treaty and the establishment of the Women's National Forum for Peace.
89. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the approval, in 1997, of a national policy for women and the enactment of a law to prevent, punish and eradicate violence in the family. She appreciates that the Government understands the complexities women face in publicly denouncing domestic violence, but would encourage the Government to take additional steps to combat the culture of impunity surrounding domestic violence.
90. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics specifically relating to domestic violence were not provided.
91. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the inclusion of domestic violence in the curriculum of the police training academy and encourages a review of the training to ensure that it does not encourage practices, such as police mediation, that may worsen situations of domestic violence and endanger women.
92. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged by the breadth of the Government's plans for support services.
93. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation, in 1995, of a national programme for Women, as part of the national plan for development, which devotes attention to violence against women generally and, within it, to domestic violence.
94. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of a new criminal provision on intra-family violence and the recognition of intra-family violence as grounds for divorce. The Special Rapporteur is concerned, however, at the emphasis on the “protection of family harmony” and urges the Government to ensure that such protection is not at odds with women's rights. The Special Rapporteur is pleased to note the formal recognition of marital rape within the criminal code.
95. Statistics: The governmental Centre for the Assistance of Victims of Family Violence received 6,461 cases from January to June 1997, of which 70.2 per cent were cases of violence within the family; 9 out of 10 of those who used the services were women and 7 out of 10 cases concerned spousal mistreatment.
96. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the initiative to develop a project to sensitize judges and members of parliament in respect to the implementation of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish, and Eradicate Violence against Women. Further, she notes the existence of numerous initiatives at the state level. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Federal Government to work to systematize training of members of the criminal justice system throughout the country.
97. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the Constitution articulates the duty of the State to provide legal assistance to victims of sexual crimes and the right of victims to receive compensation. The Centre for the Assistance of Victims of Violence within the Family provides assistance to victims of family violence through legal, psychological and social services. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the Public Ministry has the authority to impose all the measures required to protect the physical and psychological integrity of the victim during the investigation and that criminal judges can enforce such measures during proceedings.
98. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the adoption of a national plan for the prevention and punishment of violence against women, but regrets the absence of specific provisions to address domestic violence. While the Special Rapporteur appreciates the Government's recognition of the inadequacy of existing criminal laws penalizing violence against women, she would encourage the Government to devise specific proposals on how to promote the passage of more effective laws in this area generally and with respect to domestic violence, specifically.
99. Statistics: Although general statistics on violence against women were reported for some States, the Special Rapporteur regrets that specific statistics on domestic violence were not provided.
100. Training: While the Special Rapporteur welcomes the various training initiatives undertaken by the Women's Secretariat in respect to violence against women generally, she urges the Government to carry out systematic training specifically with respect to domestic violence.
101. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of a special national programme on the prevention of and assistance for domestic violence against women. The programme seeks to evaluate the quality of services provided to women victims of violence and to investigate the problem of violence in the family, with input from women victims of violence, former batterers and members of the police force and legal, health and education services.
102. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of a permanent board for family violence under the newly created Ministry of the Promotion of Women (1996).
103. Statistics: In 1997, 24,576 registered complaints of family violence against women were made to the national police force. Of these complaints, 52.2 per cent concerned violence perpetrated by husbands against their wives; 44.5 per cent violence perpetrated by domestic partners; 2.8 per cent violence perpetrated by former husbands; and 0.5 per cent violence perpetrated by former partners. Of these cases, 76.5 per cent involved physical violence and 23.5 per cent psychological violence.
104. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no systematic domestic violence training was reported.
105. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that provisions for support mechanisms for women were incorporated in the 1997 amendments to the criminal law, including: the recognition of psychological maltreatment as a form of violence in the family; the giving of free medico-legal certificates for victims of violence in the family; the power of state counsel to intervene in family cases and dictate special provisions of protection for victims; and, for victims, the ability to decide not to attend conciliation sessions. The Special Rapporteur would encourage the Government to provide information about the way in which these provisions are being implemented.
106. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation, in March 1998, of an interministerial commission to develop a national plan of action to confront domestic violence and modify the legislation.
107. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics specifically relating to domestic violence were not provided, but notes that a survey of homes undertaken in November 1997 found that domestic violence existed in 47.3 per cent of all homes.
108. Training: The Special Rapporteur received conflicting reports from various branches of the Government with respect to the existence of training. There was, however, a suggestion that training of the police was being undertaken with respect to domestic violence. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that such training may be used to encourage mediation.
109. Support services: While the Special Rapporteur notes the three-pronged approach of the Commission on Women and Family Affairs to combating domestic violence, she is concerned about the apparent emphasis on mediation. She would like to call the Government's attention to evidence that mediation may exacerbate violence and put victims in greater danger. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the existence of 15 government information centres for women and the family.
110. Platform for action: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the National Council for Women's Affairs has put forth a proposal on violence against women. She urges the Government to work systematically to implement the proposal.
111. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics specifically relating to domestic violence were not provided.
112. Training: The Special Rapporteur notes that training is available for members of the public and private sectors on preventing violence against women in the family. There is also a special programme for the police on how to handle cases of domestic violence. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to review training materials to ensure that they do not encourage practices, such as police mediation, that may aggravate domestic violence and endanger women.
113. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is concerned that there are no shelters and few support services available for battered women.
114. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of the three-year National Plan of Action on the Elimination of Domestic Violence Against Women by a sub-committee of the National Committee for Elimination of Violence against Women.
115. The Special Rapporteur would like, however, to express her concern about the link made in the Plan of Action between women's rights and “duties in the family and society”, since duties are often invoked to negate women's rights. Nonetheless, the Special Rapporteur takes such statements in the spirit of the document as a whole, which sets forth a programme with strong potential to combat domestic violence, if implemented.
116. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics specifically relating to domestic violence were not provided.
117. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that she received no reports of training courses specifically concerning domestic violence.
118. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that support services are being planned and requests the Government to provide information about the implementation of such plans.
119. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the establishment, in 1998, of an interministerial committee to monitor cooperation among the more than eight ministries and authorities involved in combating domestic violence as a step towards developing a more coordinated strategy to address domestic violence.
120. The Special Rapporteur shares the Government's concern about honour crimes against Arab women and the particular difficulties faced by battered Arab women in seeking assistance.
121. Statistics: Approximately 20,000 police files per year are opened in the area of violence in the family, of which, 75 per cent are complaints by wives against their husbands. Twenty-six women were murdered by their husbands in 1997 and 13 between January and July 1998. In 1997, 15,444 files were opened in response to women's complaints of violence by their husbands.
122. Training: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the police have established a permanent training system in respect of domestic violence. Reportedly, the fact that only 25 per cent of domestic violence cases reported to the police are closed for lack of proof is evidence of the training's success. The Special Rapporteur regrets that information with respect to prosecution rates was not similarly provided.
123. Support services: Information on support services was provided under the heading “Rehabilitation of victims”. The emphasis on rehabilitating victims implies that the victim-survivor of domestic violence is sick or in some way debilitated. While not to minimize the trauma associated with domestic violence, it is the perpetrator rather than the victim whose behaviour and social patterns are in need of rehabilitation.
124. The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned at the statement in the Government's report that “no distinction is made between offences of adultery and rape, the victims of both offences being viewed in the same light”. The issue of consent, in particular a woman's agency (capacity) to consent to sexual relations, even when such relations are outside the purview of those morally sanctioned by the State, must be recognized in criminal law. Rape should be defined in terms of non-consensual sexual relations.
125. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned that her request for information has been interpreted to include “voluntary abortion”. Specifically, the Ministry of Justice stated that it was “submitting this report ... on the effective measures taken to implement Jordan's international obligations concerning domestic violence and the punishment of the persons responsible for crimes of violence against women, conjugal rape, violence against domestic servants, females and children and voluntary abortion”. The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned about strict proscriptions on abortion in Jordan and notes that, in many cases, penalties for performing abortions are heavier than are penalties for the physical assault of a woman.
126. National plan of action: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that domestic violence is one of the priorities set forth in the Plan of Action for the Social Sector devised by the Jordanian National Committee on Women's Affairs in 1994. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the campaign “Democracy without women's rights is not democracy” carried out by the Government in 1994-1995, which focused on violence and discrimination against women by individuals, the family and society, particularly in the form of beatings, conjugal rape, marriage without consent, forced labour, lack of adequate care, exploitation of traditional beliefs in order to repress women, social discrimination against divorced women and widows and the lack of esteem that is generally shown towards women who fail to respect the code of honour.
127. Statistics: Although general statistics on violence against women were provided, the Special Rapporteur regrets that specific statistics on domestic violence were not provided.
128. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes training initiatives with respect to domestic violence and encourages the Government to systematize such training.
129. Support services: The Special Rapporteur notes that counselling centres attached to the courts of first instance have been established in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid and are being planned throughout the country.
130. The Special Rapporteur regrets that the requested information concerning national plans of action, statistics, training and support services was not provided. She is concerned that the Government has neither legally recognized nor provided remedies and support for victims of violence against women in the family. She is also concerned that women and children are being treated as one indistinguishable class in government policy. The Special Rapporteur would like to remind the Government that such an approach is incompatible with the full protection and promotion of women's human rights.
131. While the Special Rapporteur notes the existence of formal articulations of non-discrimination with respect to legal redress, she regrets that distinct measures of redress and support for victims of violence against women generally, and domestic violence specifically, have not been developed to remedy the propensity of law, policy and State institutions to discriminate in fact, if not formally, against women. Owing to the distinct nature of violence against women and women's social and legal status, particular measures must be addressed to meeting, inter alia, the safety, psychological, medical and legal needs of victims of violence against women in the family. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern the continuing classification of crimes of indecent assault and rape in terms of crimes against honour and reputation, rather than as violent crimes against the person.
132. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the information provided by the Government concerning violence against domestic workers and the formal steps taken to address such violence through new laws and agencies, as well as the conclusion of bilateral agreements with sending countries with respect to international migrant workers. However, the Special Rapporteur notes with concern the lack of support services available for foreign victims of violence against domestic workers who, far from their own country and often unable to communicate with their employers, are particularly vulnerable to violence.
133. Plan of action: While the Special Rapporteur welcomes the adoption, in 1997, of the 25-point Programme of Action against Violence in Society, she is concerned that it does not include special measures to address violence against women generally and domestic violence specifically. The Special Rapporteur would like to draw the Government's attention to the fact that the gender-specific nature of violence against women has traditionally been overlooked in generalized anti-violence campaigns.
134. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics on domestic violence were not provided.
135. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the holding, since 1995, of two-day seminars on violence in the family as part of the basic training programme for all police officers in Austria. Although further courses are planned, the Special Rapporteur is concerned that such training is being restricted to individuals “involved in women's projects and those working at women's counselling centres”, rather than being made compulsory for members of the criminal justice system.
136. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the enactment, in May 1997, of the Federal Act for Protection against Domestic Violence, which gives the police power to remove the batterer from the common home and bar him from coming within a certain distance of it. It also provides a framework for cooperation between the police and the civil courts. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the first intervention centre against violence in the family was established in 1996 and that, since then, 13 additional centres have been established.
137. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the establishment, in May 1996, of the Commission for Issues of Equality and the subsequent development of the National Policy for the Promotion of Equality, a critical aspect of which is the prevention and elimination of violence against women generally and domestic violence specifically.
138. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no statistics specifically relating to domestic violence were provided.
139. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no specific information was provided on training with respect to domestic violence.
140. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the obligation set forth in the National Policy that the Government must ensure adequate accommodation and assistance to victims of violence against women, and encourages the Government to allocate sufficient resources for such purposes.
141. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the government Advisory Committee's plan of action, which includes monitoring, training, promoting public campaigns, compiling statistics, undertaking research and facilitating interagency coordination.
142. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the statistics provided were not clear.
143. Training: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the training initiatives with respect to domestic violence, in particular the incorporation of an eight-hour training session on domestic violence in the basic police training and the ongoing one- to two-week multidisciplinary training programmes for the police. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged by the Government's frankness concerning resistance amongst police participants and urges the Government to explore additional training modalities to address such resistance. The Special Rapporteur is concerned about “family peacemaking (mediation)” workshops for the police and cautions the Government about encouraging the police to play the role of mediator in situations of domestic violence. Such mediation may place women's safety at greater risk.
144. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the introduction of a new provision in the law that permits the establishment and operation of a shelter for victims of violence. However, the Special Rapporteur cautions the Government against the establishment of a general shelter for victims of crime, since this may increase the threat to victims of violence against women generally and domestic violence specifically. The Special Rapporteur welcomes increased penalties for certain offences when committed by one family member against another.
145. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the steps taken by the Government to address the specific needs of battered immigrant women. She is concerned, however, that there is no concrete national plan of action to address domestic violence systematically.
146. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no statistics were provided.
147. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no information was provided on training with respect to domestic violence.
148. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the establishment, in 1998, of a working group to develop guidelines for the organization of efforts relating to battered women.
149. Plan of action: Although the Special Rapporteur notes that the Federal Government implemented a three-year campaign on violence against women, she regrets that no information was provided on specific measures taken in terms of domestic violence.
150. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics are not collected. Although the Government asserts that “because of the wide range of definitions, it is impossible to make any reliable statements for Germany concerning the actual extent of violence against women in all its forms”, the systematic collection of statistics would assist the Government in more adequately assessing the extent of such violence, as well as in providing remedies for victims of violence against women.
151. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets the lack of specific training with respect to domestic violence.
152. Support services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that a pilot project, based on the “Domestic abuse intervention project” in Duluth, Minnesota, is being undertaken by the Federal Ministry for Women.
153. Plan of action: Although the Special Rapporteur welcomes initiatives to strengthen laws with a view to criminalizing physical and sexual violence against women, she is concerned that there is no systematic plan to address domestic violence.
154. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics on domestic violence were not provided.
155. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that there appears to be no systematic training of members of the criminal justice system in relation to domestic violence.
156. Support Services: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that financial assistance is being provided by the Government to support centres for victims of violence against women.
157. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no comprehensive plan of action to address domestic violence systematically has been formulated.
158. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics specifically relating to domestic violence were not provided.
159. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that information was not provided with respect to domestic violence training programmes.
160. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the 1995 amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act which provides for a protective order to prohibit a person from entering a specific area or following, visiting or otherwise contacting another person in cases of domestic and/or sexual violence against women. Further, the Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the creation of an alarm system for women who are under serious threat of violence, in which a violence alarm is linked to the nearest police station and calls from the alarm must be given the utmost priority.
161. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the Government may be relying on outdated notions that substance abuse causes violence against women. Although substance abuse may exacerbate violence against women, it does not cause the violence. As such, providing therapy for alcoholics and drug abusers is not an adequate remedy for violence against women.
162. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the adoption, in 1997, of the National Action Plan for Women, which identifies violence against women as one of its priorities. Although domestic violence is not specifically set forth as a priority theme, the Special Rapporteur notes that many of the Plan measures address domestic violence.
163. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that statistics are not kept with respect to domestic violence. Although she encourages the Government of the Slovak Republic to take steps to draft domestic violence legislation, she wishes to point out that the absence of such legislation should not prevent the collection of statistics. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned at the distinction made, in the Slovak report, between domestic violence and “public violence”, which suggests that distinctions between public and private are being employed to differentiate or prioritize certain violations of women's human rights.
164. Training: The Special Rapporteur notes with concern the Government's apparent adherence to a formal notion of justice, as highlighted by the statement that “[i]n the light of the fact that the valid Penal Code of the Slovak Republic provides for equality of justice for both men and women in criminal proceedings, no special standards for legal procedures and the conduct of persons active within the system of criminal justice that would enforce justice and equality for women have been developed”. The Special Rapporteur would like to remind the Government that formal articulations of equality may be insufficient to ensure that violence against women is prevented, investigated and punished.
165. Support services: Although noting that women have access to common remedies provided to all victims of crime, the Special Rapporteur regrets that there are no support services specifically provided for victims of domestic violence.
166. Plan of action: While the Special Rapporteur notes the creation of the Equal Opportunity Plan for Men and Women, she regrets there is no comprehensive strategy to address family violence against women.
167. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government is not systematically collecting statistics with respect to domestic violence. She notes with concern that there is an average of 16,000 complaints of domestic violence and 85 domestic murders each year.
168. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no specific training is being undertaken for the various branches of the criminal justice system with respect to domestic violence.
169. Support services: No new support initiatives were reported.
170. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the Government's initiatives to strengthen violence against women legislation through the introduction of the crime of “gross violation of a woman's integrity”, which is intended to address repeated punishable violence committed against women by men with whom they have relationships; to broaden the scope of its violence against women policies to reach the immigrant community; to study, with a view to using electronic monitoring of men who breach restraining orders; and to develop more effective treatment programmes for abusers.
171. Statistics: Reportedly, 66 per cent of the 18,560 reported cases of assault of women in 1996 were cases of domestic assault.
172. Training: No new training initiatives that specifically address domestic violence had been implemented as of the time of reporting.
173. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the allocation of government funds for violence against women at work, in particular for the national centre for battered and raped women, which was established in 1994.
174. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the elaboration of a national plan to implement the Beijing Platform for Action, including a section on violence against women, and the establishment of a working group to ensure its implementation.
175. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government does not maintain statistics on domestic violence.
176. Training: The Special Rapporteur regrets that there appears to be no systematic training of members of the criminal justice system in relation to domestic violence.
177. Support services: The Special Rapporteur commends the Government for recognizing the right of victims of abuse to receive assistance free of charge. While welcoming ongoing support initiatives, the Special Rapporteur regrets that no new support measures have been implemented.
178. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the constitutional obligation to put into place legal measures to protect women and children victims of violence in the family. Further, she notes the creation of a national plan of action (1996) to implement the Beijing Platform for Action, including with respect to violence against women. The Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note the Government's intention to work toward the passage of legislation to ensure that rape committed in the home is a punishable crime. While the Special Rapporteur welcomes the Government's intent to institute penal sanctions against those who undertake virginity controls irrespective of motive, she is concerned about the Government's intention to maintain virginity control in the Turkish Penal Code. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to take all measures to abolish the practice, in public and private, of virginity testing.
179. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that no statistics were made available.
180. Training: The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to systematize the various training programmes undertaken and planned to educate the police, the security forces, health personnel and other public agents on the question of violence against women generally, and with respect to violence in the family.
181. Support services: The Special Rapporteur welcomes the recent law reform concerning the protection of the family (January 1998), which provides for the issuance of protection orders and imprisonment for three to six months for the violation of such orders.
182. Plan of action: The Special Rapporteur is concerned that, although the Government indicated that it is undertaking several initiatives, many of which arose out of the Interdepartmental Working Party on Domestic Violence in 1994, the lack of a national plan may result in a lack of coordination and, in some cases, conflicting or incoherent policy.
183. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Violence. In particular, the Special Rapporteur is encouraged by the focus on groups of women, such as women from ethnic minority groups and women with disabilities, who are doubly marginalized. The Special Rapporteur is likewise encouraged by the 1995 Northern Ireland strategy document and the institution of the regional Domestic Violence Forum to promote coordination and cooperation among key agencies.
184. Statistics: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government does not keep statistics on domestic violence. Likewise, the Special Rapporteur is concerned at the assertion that “crime statistics relate to offence type not to the relationship between the victim and the offender”. The Special Rapporteur would like to call the Government's attention to the need to treat domestic violence as a distinct offence in order to ensure that appropriate remedies are provided. Traditionally, general assault and battery statutes have not provided adequate remedies for victims of domestic violence. Reportedly, 44 per cent of the 681 offences of homicide recorded in England and Wales in 1996 were cases of domestic homicide, in which women were killed by current or former spouses or lovers.
185. Training: While the Special Rapporteur notes the publication, in 1994, of the Police Research Group's paper, “Preventing domestic violence to women”, she is concerned that measures have not been undertaken to operationalize the findings of the report. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the training initiatives of the Judicial Studies Board, Family Committee, particularly with respect to Part IV of the Family Law Act of 1996.
186. Support services: While the majority of support services are run by non-governmental groups, the Special Rapporteur is encouraged to note that the Government provides substantial financial assistance, in particular for shelters and hotlines. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the creation of a generalized Victims Charter (1996), which has as its key provisions: (i) keeping victims informed of significant developments in their case; and (ii) considering how the views of victims might be taken into account by the criminal justice agencies when dealing with their case.
187. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the passage into law, in 1994, of the federal Violence against Women Act and the steps taken to implement the Act including: the launching in 1996 of a free hotline that provides local referrals 24 hours-a-day and offers access to translators in 139 languages; the passing in September 1996 of the Lautenberg Amendment, which bans anyone convicted of a domestic violence offence from possessing a firearm; the establishment of the Advisory Council on Violence against Women; and the creation by the Department of Justice of the S*T*O*P (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) Violence against Women grant programme which provides funds for direct service programmes for victims of domestic violence.
188. While the Special Rapporteur recognizes that, to some degree, the Violence against Women Act represents a codified national plan of action, she nonetheless regrets that the specific information requested was not provided with respect to national plans of action, statistics, training and support systems.