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Human rights in Ukraine – 2006. XX. Key human rights issues in cases involving domestic violence

   

[1]

In this analysis of the human right to freedom from violence we will concentrate exclusively on issues of violence in the family. It is this definition which is provided in domestic legislation, some statistics are kept on this and programmes are undertaken by civic organizations and international institutions. This does not mean that other forms of violence are not widespread in Ukrainian society, however they are less immediate.

1.   Scale of domestic violence

  Violence in the family is one of the ways in which the human and civic rights and legitimate interests of a person are violated. In 2001 the Verkhovna Rada passed the Laws “On prevention of violence in the family” and “On amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences to impose liability for acts of violence in the family or failure to obey a protection order.

  The Law “On prevention of violence in the family” provides the following definition: “violence in the family – shall be understood to be any deliberate physical, sexual, psychological or economical actions aimed by one member of the family against another member, if these acts violate the constitutional human rights and civil liberties of the latter and inflict moral damages as well as harm to his or her physical and psychological condition”.

  Violence against women is an abuse of their basic human rights including their right to physical and mental integrity, their right to life and their right to equality with men.[2].

However violence in the family cannot simply be equated with gender violence or that against women. Any members of the family can be victims, including children, just as they can be the perpetrators. This means that one cannot simply consider domestic violence as a violation of women’s rights.

The main sources of information about violence in the family are:

Law enforcement agencies, mainly the police;

Civic organizations working in the area of prevention of violence and combating it in the family, the information includes that received from help lines;

Social services;

Sociological and criminological studies;

Reports from the mass media.

  The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reports that they have 85,178 people on their register for acts of domestic violence, with 63,624 of these registered in 2006.  76,192 received official warnings; protection orders were applied against 6,359 people; 66,873 were fined; 375 sentenced to corrective work and administrative arrest was used against 9,334 individuals. The statistics are kept by the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department of Public Safety

The State Social Service for Children, the Family and Youth keeps a database of crisis families. As of 1 January 2006 this contained approximately 133 thousand families[3].

Data from nongovernmental organizations also confirm the particularly acute nature of the problem regarding the scale of various forms of violence in Ukrainian families. For example, the National Help line on prevention of violence and protection of children’s rights run by the La Strada – Ukraine Centre received 692 calls over 2005-2006.

The media do not give enough coverage of these important issues. Even in the so-called “women’s” press, women’s journals, these issues are not covered. In general information emerges during the action “16 days against violence” which is held each year at the end of November – beginning of December. Material on these issues has been printed by the journals “Zhinka” [“Woman”] and “Korespondent”, the newspapers “Fakty”, “Vechirny visti” [“Evening news”]. “Bez tsenzury” [“Without censorship”] and others.[4].

According to unofficial statistics, over 3 million children each year in Ukraine witness or are themselves victims of domestic violence. Most of them suffer serious psychological trauma, withdraw into themselves, and have suicidal thoughts as well as a low feeling of self-esteem.[5].

In order to study public opinion about violence in the family, La Strada – Ukraine carried out a nationwide survey. Most of those asked saw violence in the family as an immediate problem for Ukraine (81%) and the world as a whole (84%). At the same time only 8% said that it was an issue for their family, while 20% said that domestic violence was an issue in the families of their friends and people they knew.

With regard to the most widespread stereotypes that “violence is mainly a problem in low-income families” and that “violence is a family matter and there’s no need for intervention by competent bodies”, respondents could be divided as follows: 53% believed that in families with a low income violence is more common, while 47% did not agree; 66% did not consider domestic violence to be the family’s own business. These findings demonstrate that in Ukrainian society the old stereotypes about violence in the family are gradually crumbling.

Most of the respondents - 89% – are convinced that to solve the problem of domestic violence, one needs to work with the perpetrator. 62% felt that the perpetrator needed to be removed from the family into shelters and that there should be such shelters in each region and district (81%). 86 % consider that individuals who commit acts of violence in the family should face criminal liability.

85% believe that domestic violence is linked with alcohol. 87% therefore agreed with the statement that a person who had been violent while in a state of alcoholic intoxication should be forced to undergo treatment against alcoholic dependency. 85% do not consider compulsory treatment of perpetrators to be a violation of human rights.

One form of violence in the family is that against children, including through the use of corporal punishment. The use of the latter violates a whole range of the rights of the children as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and confirmed in the Ukrainian Constitution and Law “On the protection of childhood”. These include the right to not be ill-treated; the right to life and physical integrity; the right to the highest standards of physical and mental health and others. Studies carried out have shown that Ukrainian society is quite tolerant of corporal punishment being used to children.

There is a dominant stereotype in Ukrainian society that violence, ill-treatment of children and neglect are problems exclusively of crisis families or those who are badly off or poor.  The survey carried out of public opinion, which certainly needs further study, provides grounds for asserting the contrary. For example, among those who described their material position as “We can afford to buy virtually anything we want to”, 22 % think that the use of corporal punishment is always expedient if the child is behaving badly, while another 50% said that they were prepared to use corporal punishment in certain cases. Only 28% of respondents from that group consider that corporal punishment is unacceptable in any circumstances. It is worth mentioning that the respondents in that group had most often been punished in this way as children. For example, 59% of those surveyed had expressed corporal punishment several times a month, while 41% said that it had been applied very seldom. However not one person said “never”.  The study also found that there was a great lack of knowledge regarding alternatives to smacks for bringing up and exerting influence on a child.

A major problem in society is presented by gender stereotypes, including those related to violent forms of behaviour and communication in society.

Often the main culprit is society itself, or more specifically, conservative morality which virtually legalizes the right of a man to dominate over a woman. It is society which looks with suspicion at unmarried women, solo mothers or those divorced, seeing them as some kind of second-class citizens. A woman is often forced to abandon the struggle for the right to be her own person by the banal arguments “what will people say?” or “so that at least it’s not worse”.  In fact, however, practice shows that submission only further encourages domestic tyrants.[6].

  Since violence is no longer regarded by international human rights standards as a private matter (thanks to the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1993, documents from the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1993) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995 р.), countries must commit themselves to prevent and combat all forms of violence. This means that as well as legislation which imposes liability for violence, they must create a system both for preventing violence and for providing comprehensive assistance to its victims.

2.    The government’s responsibility for ensuring protection against violence

As Amnesty International states in its report Ukraine legislation and executive authorities are failing to fulfil the country’s obligations under international human rights law to exercise due diligence to secure women’s rights to equality, life, liberty and security, and freedom from discrimination, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. [7].

 

Development of a government programme of support for the family

Work was carried out in 2006 on developing a government targeted programme for providing support to the family. These government targeted programmes are a way of implementing State governance in a specific area.

The work was undertaken by the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport, together with civic and international organizations. The draft programme had a section on countering violence in the family. This was a palliative decision since many civic organizations were insisting on drawing up and passing separate programmes for preventing and countering violence. However the wish of the government to reduce the number of such targeted programmes led to the inclusion of this block of issues in the programme of support for the family.

  On 31 January 21 the Government targeted programme for providing support to the family was approved by Cabinet of Ministers Resolution. However, following its affirmation, the number and substantive content of the measures planned decreased substantially. This particularly concerned measures on preventing and countering violence in the family.

This situation is typical of other government programmes with a gender and social focus as well. For example, after the passing by the Cabinet of Ministers of a Programme for implementing gender equality (November 2006) and a Programme on combating human trafficking (7 March 2007), their content was significantly reduced. This state of affairs, on the one hand, decreases the responsibility of the government and its need to act, while on the other it deflects public criticism since it can formally report that it approved the programmes.

The situation has, moreover, developed in such a way that the right of the public and civic organizations to take part in drawing up government programmes has been violated through a secret revision behind closed doors of the jointly drafted documents.  This means that the need has increased for vigilant control and attention to these issues from civic human rights organizations and the mass media.

With regard to drawing up legislative measures for preventing and combating violence, we should mention the draft Law “On a nationwide programme and National Action Plan for implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child from 2006-2010, which was drawn up in 2005-2006 by the Department for the Protection of the Rights of the Child within the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport together with civic and international organizations. This was passed in its first reading in February 2007. Preparation for its second reading is going slowly since again the interests of civic organizations who want to see as substantive a plan as possible are running up against the wish of executive authorities to reduce government responsibility for carrying out policy in this sphere. It is therefore vital to hold out for the inclusion of items pertaining to countering and preventing ill-treatment of children, including in the family.

 

Parliamentary hearings on countering gender violence

An important event with national importance was the organization and holding of parliamentary hearings entitled “The situation with regard to countering gender violence” on 21 November 2006. The participants stressed that violence is a major obstacle towards ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms. Violence against women is a violation of human rights, with its very nature depriving a woman of the opportunity to enjoy fundamental freedoms.

The problem is that four months after the parliamentary hearings, their recommendations had still not been affirmed by the Verkhovna Rada. They were twice put to the vote, but were voted down by the ruling coalition. The recommendations have been redone in the same way as the government programmes mentioned above, however even in their abbreviated form they have still not been passed by parliament.[8]. This ignoring of the issue is happening against the background of 2007 having been declared by the Council of Europe the year against gender violence.

 

“16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence”

This event has been held in Ukraine since the beginning of 2000 with the active participation of civic organizations, as well as the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport. During 2004-2005 the Ministry of Internal Affairs through a special instruction from the Minister or Deputy Minister approved a plan of measures involving the Ministry in “16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence”. These measures included provision of consultations by specialists from the Department of Public Safety within the MIA to the National Help Line on issues of violence and protection of children’s rights and from the Department on Fighting Human Trafficking Crimes; lectures and training seminars for students from schools, technical colleges and institutes in various regions on “Preventing human trafficking”, “Preventing violence in the family”; participation in different kinds of events including press conferences, roundtables, conferences, holding nationwide operations “Way of life”. There was no such instruction from the MIA in 2006.

 

Problems in coordinating the work of government structures involving in countering violence

The responsibility for coordinating work with other government bodies on preventing and countering violence in the family is vested with the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport.

This is complicated, particularly at district and city level, by the small numbers of staff in departments on family and youth matters (1-2 members of staff who are expected to run all the Ministry’s programmes), as well as by the large percentage of time devoted to sport issues.

The problems involved in implementing government policy against violence in the family are exacerbated by the poor level of efficiency of the central authority.  The latter is responsible for issues which are unrelated to one another, namely the development of professional sport and social problems of the family, young people, women and gender equality. The government cannot ensure efficient governance in this sphere under the present arrangement.

Furthermore, the Cabinet of Ministers has yet to appoint a person who will carry out coordinating work in this area[9], although all member states of the Council of Europe had elected such coordinators back in 2006. The lack of a coordinator from the central authorities demonstrates the dismissive attitude of the present Cabinet of Ministers to issues linked to countering violence. The Verkhovna Rada has appointed such a person.

 

3.   The main problems experienced by victims of violence in the family

One of the greatest problems is receiving help for full rehabilitation. Whereas civic organizations can provide legal, consultative and psychological assistance to victims, to provide medical care one needs to have a licence (a private doctor), and this can only be gained by a person formally engaged in commercial activity. Since civic and charitable organizations are not allowed to engage in such activities, they are unable to receive such a licence.

The problems involved in given specialized medical aid to victims of violence[10] – include the “conspiracy of silence” (when the victim avoids any appeals for help since s/he encounters no understanding of the problem from those around); lack of knowledge and prejudice among the public towards the psychiatric service; an insufficient legal base; the declarative nature of many legal provisions (for example, those about protection for victims and witnesses). At the present time there are no national clinical and epidemiological data for the country as a whole on psychological problems among victims of violence in the family. A State service for medical and social assistance is still only at the embryonic stage.

At the end of 2006 a doctrine had been developed for medical and social assistance to victims of violence, an organizational model had been prepared for the relevant body, and optimum ways of implementing this were being worked on. At the end of 2003 propositions had been submitted to the Ministry of Health with these resulting in Ministerial Order No. 38 from 23 January 2004 “On approving measures to implement the Law of Ukraine “On the prevention of violence in the family” and the “Sample Regulations on medical and social rehabilitation centres for victims of violence in the family”.  The Department for the Organization and Development of Medical Care to the Public within the Ministry of Health sent Letter No. 33 from 23 January 2004.

  Responses to the letter addressed to the Ministry of Health were received from all regions expect the Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Odessa and Cherkasy regions.

The responses showed that in accordance with the said Order No. 38 from 23.01.2004 only two medical and social rehabilitation centres for victims of violence in the family had been created, one in Chernihiv, the other in Sevastopol. Here it must be mentioned that even those two centres had been opened on the territory of psychiatric and drug dependence institutions, thus meaning that the principle of destygmatization їwhich is stressed in the Sample Regulations on medical and social rehabilitation centres has not been observed which significantly reduces the number of potential visitors. Nor do these centres have live-in units this making it impossible to provide temporary shelter for the victim of violence away from the aggressor. They also fail to provide victims with full specialized medical care.

There are a number of medical institutions which provide medical and social assistance to victims of domestic violence, although they are not designated as permanent medical and social rehabilitation centres for this group of people. Such institutions exist in the following regions: Vinnytsa (1 institution); Donetsk (1), Luhansk (1), Lviv (2), Kyiv (4), and in two other regions – Transcarpathian and Mykolaiv - there are consulting rooms with such a profile.  In the Volyn and Kharkiv regions there are only plans to open such institutions. This meant that at the end of 2006 there were only 16 medical institutions in the country providing medical and social assistance to victims of violence in the family which is far too few to cater for the needs of the entire population.

 

4.   The work of civic organizations to prevent and counter gender violence

One could not call work against violence one of the main focuses for civic organizations in 2006. This is not so much because the violence is not an issue, quite on the contrary, since it is a serious problem in Ukraine. It was linked rather to low activeness of donors and international organizations. In 2006, for example, the UN Equal Opportunities Programme virtually folded all its programmes. 

The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine organized analysis of current legislation in this area and ran a roundtable at the end of November 2006 in Kyiv with the involvement of experts from abroad, government structures, civic and other international organizations.

The global campaign against domestic violence “STOP Violence against Women” was launched by Amnesty International back in 2004.  Amnesty International in Ukraine has taken an active role in this campaign. On 21 November 2006, on the eve of the action “16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence”, it gave a press conference at which it made public the AI report on the situation as regards domestic violence in Ukraine “Domestic Violence - Blaming the victim”[11].  At the regional level there are a number of active civic organizations, including the Western Ukrainian Women’s Information Centre (Lviv), “Nadiya” [“Hope”] (Kharkiv), “Family Home” (Poltava) and others.

  The International Women’s Human Rights Centre “La Strada – Ukraine” is developing work on prevention of violence in the family. One of the main focuses of this work has been a National Help Line for the prevention of violence and protection of children’s rights 8 800 500 33 50, (+ 38 044 205 36 94 for calls from Kyiv and from abroad) which was first started in November 2004.

Anti-domestic violence posters have been prepared for local police units: “Knowledge of the law can protect you” (in cooperation with the Ministry for the Family, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Internal Affairs), as well as bookmarks on prevention of domestic violence “My Rules of Safety”.

Statistics for calls made to the National Help Line for the prevention of violence and protection of children’s rights

(30 November 2004 – December 2006). 692 calls in all

A breakdown in terms of reasons for the call (one call might include several issues)

Sharing the concern of the international community and human rights organizations and considering the use of corporate punishment to be unacceptable in a civilized society, La Strada – Ukraine launched a programme at the beginning of 2006 entitled “Ukraine free of corporal punishment of children”. The programme is intended to run for three years, and if needed, this period will be extended.

  In 2006 two projects were started focusing on prevention of violence. They are being run by the civic organizations “School of Equal Opportunities” and the International “Rozrada” Centre, with the financial support of the United National Development Fund for Women UNIFEM. A number of conferences on violence in the family were held during the year: the conference “Preventive work against violence in the family: work with school-age children”; the seminar: “Overview of the normative legal basis and system of review into cases of violence against children and in the violence”; training seminars on the topic “Sexual violence against children: identifying the victims and providing social and psychological help”.

 

5.   Conclusions and recommendations

On the basis of the information and analysis above, we can identify main violations of human rights reflected not only in the violence itself, but in the implementation (or lack of implementation) of government policy in this sphere.

The failure of the law enforcement agencies to protect people against violence in the family is seen in the following:

-  Police officers do not go out to everyday calls which to them include cases of domestic violence;

-  Prosecutor’s office staff are reluctant to issue permits for protection orders;

-   Prosecutor’s office staff and judges are not only unfamiliar with the provisions of the Law “On prevention of violence in the family” but are even unaware of its very existence[12].

-  The absurd need to approach the police three times before the perpetrator is arrested, although any incident can end in a fatality;

-  The existence of a provision on victim behaviour (this may be removed if draft law No. 2539[13] is passed);

-  Police staff do not have the necessary knowledge and skills in cases involving family violence;

-  Insufficient attention is given to training MIA staff on behaviour and action needed in situations involving domestic violence (this applies both to initial training and to higher educational institutes).

-  the responsibility for violence in the family is shifted onto the victims;

-  the fact that fines are used as the main form of administrative punishment for perpetrators, this adversely affecting not only their material situation, but that of the family as a whole (these fines may be removed if draft law No. 2539 is passed);

-  the lack of possibility of evicting the person guilty of the violence;

-  the impossibility of having any influence on those who commit acts of violence under the influence of drugs or alcohol;

A general serious shortcoming in the entire system for organizing work on preventing and countering violence in the family is the focus exclusively on the victims of the violence, while excluding from the area of attention and influence the actual perpetrators. The process of victimization of those who have suffered from violence in the family is thus endorsed and the effectiveness of actions to prevent violence is diminished.

  With regard to providing victims of domestic violence with assistance the main problem is the fact that it is effectively impossible to receive medical, socio-psychological and other assistance, as well as short- or long-term shelter where needed. The reasons for this are:

  -  the lack of an extended system of institutions for victims of domestic violence:

  -  the shifting of responsibility for financing the creation of institutions providing assistance on local budgets, instead of via financial allocations from the State budget;

  -  the lack of awareness among the heads of regional administrations, regional councils and  bodies of local self-government of the need for prevention of violence and the failure to provide funds for implementing programmes;

-  the failure of the Cabinet of Ministers to carry out the provisions of the Law “On prevention of violence in the family” with regard to creating crisis centres, medical and social rehabilitation centres (see section 3 above where detail is given about the difficulties for victims of violence in receiving medical care);

- the Law “On prevention of violence in the family” does not contain provisions making the creation of shelters for victims of domestic violence mandatory.

-  according to the Standard Regulations on socio-psychological help passed by the Cabinet of Ministers, assistance in such centres is only provided to people under the age of 35. This is in breach of the Law “On prevention of violence in the family”, the Ukrainian Constitution as well as the principles of human rights protection. Not only therefore must the said Law be refined, but also a whole range of other laws and normative legal documents.

-  the lack of social housing and the chance to live apart from families where acts of violence are being committed.

  -  work (if it is carried out at all) is only with the victims of domestic violence and not with the perpetrators. There is no institution where people who have committed acts of violence are worked with in order to formulate different non-violent models of behaviour;

-  the need to have registration in order to get into a shelter (for example, in Kyiv). In Chernihiv we learned that there is no such requirement however when the shelters and centres are financed by the local authorities, prosecutor’s offices, or Control and Audit Department can demand registration in order to get help. This also violates people’s right to receive assistance, making this dependent on place (city, region) of residence and not on the needs of the person.

  To some extent a number of the above-mentioned human rights infringements will be resolved at the normative legal level as a result of the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the Law “On amendments and additions to some legislative acts of Ukraine on prevention of violence in the family” (draft law № 2539). As mentioned, this draft was passed in its first reading in February 2007.

  The draft law proposes removing fines and adding to Article 173-2 § 1 punishment in the form of administrative arrest for a period of up to 3 days, thus removing the violent person from the family, and not the victim.

The adoption of the proposed amendments to Articles 262 and 263 of the Code of Administrative Offences will have a positive impact with respect to preventing offences committed in the family environment and will promote the creation of an effective mechanism for safeguarding the rights and legitimate interests of members of the family involved.

  Bearing in mind the fact that domestic violence in the majority of cases is committed under the influence of alcohol, this being confirmed by data from many civic organizations, social workers and law enforcement officers, the need arises to regulate this issue in order to protect victims. The draft law therefore proposes fairly controversial amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences by adding an administrative penalty against the perpetrator in the form of mandatory treatment for alcoholism. In preparing the draft law for its second reading, proposals must be taken into consideration regarding agreeing these norms with those of the Law “On psychiatric help” to ensure observance of human rights.

It is also proposed to add new terms to the Law, such as “corrective work” and “corrective programme”, “shelter for victims of violence in the family”. At the present time there are specialized institutions for victims of violence in the family, these being crisis centres and medical and social rehabilitation centres. The work is thus carried out exclusive with people who have suffered as the result of violence in the family, yet there is no institution where work is carried out with the perpetrators of the violence in order to effect changes in their behaviour and formulate non-violent models. The draft law proposes a number of amendments on carrying out special corrective work with people guilty of violence in the family.

The draft law suggests removing the term “victim behaviour”, as well as Article 11 in full from the Law “On prevention of violence in the family”.

Recommendations for improving work on prevention of violence in the family and protecting the rights of its victims

  1. Pass draft law № 2539.
  2. Introduce amendments to Order of the Ministry of Health № 33 from 2000 regarding staffing timetables to take into account the needs of medical and psychological rehabilitation centres.
  3. Introduce amendments to the Standard Regulations on socio-psychological help removing the age limit (not only up to the age of 35);
  4.  Introduce amendments to the regulations on centres stipulating that help can be received regardless of whether the person is registered according to place of residence;
  5. Heighten public and parliamentary control over adherence to legislation on prevention of violence against women;
  6. Toughen sanctions against people who commit acts of violence in the family and establish periods of administrative detention;
  7. Impose periods of administrative detention of individuals who have committed acts of violence in the family or breached a protection order, prior to the review of the case in court;
  8. Introduce alternative forms of punishment for people who have committed acts of violence in the family, in particular, imposing community work and mandatory participation in rehabilitation programmes which will help reduce the process of criminalization of domestic offenders;
  9. Resolve the issue of isolating individuals who commit acts of violence in the family with their further rehabilitation;
  10. Create special units for carrying out rehabilitation work with aggressors within specialized institutions for victims of violence in the family;
  11. Establish administrative liability for propaganda of violence and brutality;
  12. The Cabinet of Ministers should develop a comprehensive range of measures to implement at national level the Council of Europe’s campaign to eliminate violence against women;
  13. Publish in Ukraine and have distributed Recommendation No. R (2002) 5 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and Explanatory Memorandum;
  14. Prepare by 1 January 2007 a National Report on Ukraine’s fulfilment of the above-mentioned Recommendation No. R (2002) 5;
  15. Draft and adopt a National programme for countering domestic violence in Ukraine;
  16. Provide for the functioning in each Ukrainian region of institutions for victims of violence in the family, crisis centres, socio-psychological help centres, shelters, services for medical and social rehabilitation, etc;
  17. Ensure legal aid for victims of violence in the family, including women exclusion from social contact, migrants and refugees who have recently arrived in the country, members of minorities and women with restricted possibilities;
  18. Ensure sufficient financial and material backup for the work of structures and institutions carrying out measures aimed at preventing violence in the family;
  19. Develop a system for financing crisis centres and shelters for victims of violence out of the State budget. Shifting responsibility for financing these institutions to local budgets means that victims of violence in different regions have unequal conditions, whereas all are equally entitled to the same scope of assistance and protection.[14].
  20. Carry out monitoring of the quality of services provided to victims of violence and improve implementation of the Law “On prevention of violence in the family” through introducing systematic gathering of information about enforcement of the said Law’s provisions.
  21. The Ministry for the Family, Youth and Sport should study the question of introducing in departments on the family and youth of district administrations and city executive committees posts for specialists on prevention of violence in the family and on measures against human trafficking in order to coordinate work in these areas;
  22. Create at the national and regional levels the relevant database of government structures and civic organizations whose work is directed at preventing and countering all forms of violence;
  23. Ensure early identification of families where there is a problem with violence or where there is a real danger of such violence being committed, and organize social accompaniment for those families;
  24. Involve civic organizations in measures aimed at countering domestic violence; support the activities and promote the further development of the network “Men against violence”;
  25. Gather and regularly publish statistics on the scale of domestic violence in Ukraine, on measures to prevent it, as well as monitoring court statistics on the outcome of hearings into cases involving violence in the family;
  26. Summarize practical application of legislation on countering violence in the family. Collect and circulate the best practical recommendations on preventing violence in the family, protecting victims and prosecuting criminals at national, regional and local levels;
  27. Review the role of the prosecutor to enable prosecutor’s offices to launch criminal investigations in the absence of a formal statement from the victim of violence. This will reduce the risk of the perpetrator being able to influence the victim and it becomes impossible for a perpetrator to apply for the investigation to be terminated.[15].
  28. The Ministry of Internal Affairs must ensure efficient consideration of appeals and reports of actions of violence in the family and eliminate cases of refusals to register such appeals;
  29. The Ministry of Education and Science should include the issue of violence in the family as a human rights problem and an issue of the state of society in curricula at all institutions for employees of the court and law enforcement bodies, medical staff, social workers, teachers and others. Courses on prevention of violence in the family  and help for its victims should be added to the educational programmes for institutes training psychologists, educational workers, lawyers, law enforcement officers, social and medical workers;
  30. The State Committee of Statistics should improve the system of State statistical reporting on prevention of violence in the family by developing forms for reporting on this and introducing reporting on violence and brutality against children. They should ensure the systematic gathering of statistical data with a breakdown under the Article into types of violence.


[1] By K.B. Levchenko, International Women’s Human Rights Centre “La Strada – Ukraine”.

[2] From Amnesty International’s report: “Domestic Violence - Blaming the victim”, available from the AI website at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR500052006?open&of=ENG-UKR.


[3]  The categories of families in difficult circumstances are based on a Joint Order of the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Department for the Execution of Sentences from 14.06.2006 № 1983/388/452/221/556/596/106 «On approving Rules of Procedure for people engaged in social work with families in difficult circumstances”. The list is as follows::

- families with children who find themselves in difficult circumstances and are unable to resolve the problem themselves due to disability of parents or children; forced migration;  the drug or alcohol dependence of a member of the family; a member of the family being imprisoned; HIV-infection; violence in the family; neglected children; children being orphaned; lack of respect and negative relations within the family; one of the members of the family being unemployed if s/he is registered with a State employment service as looking for a job;

- families where a question has been raised as to whether to place a child in a children’s home for orphans and children deprived of parental care;

- underage solo mothers (fathers) who need support;

- families whose members have been or are on State support. .

[4] The newspaper «Fakty»: «Once papa said: “You’ll get bigger and I’ll make a child of you, but if you’re born from another man, I’ll kill you”, “I called the police: “Have you managed to get petrol yet? You’d better come, I’ve strangled my husband”) (3.08.2006), "It’s a fake and provocation. My daughter’s lied about my young husband because she doesn’t like him” (27.12.2006), “Wives cripple their Russian men” (21.03.06), the journal “Korespondent”: “In India they’re made it illegal to rape women”(

№ 43 (188), 26 October 2006), the newspaper “ “Bez tsenzury”: “In bed with an enemy” that’s how almost 68% of Ukrainian women feel” (25 October 2006 р.).

[5] “In bed with an enemy” that’s how almost 68% of Ukrainian women feel”, Natalka Poznyak-Khomenko, the newspaper  “Bez tsenzury” (25 October 2006).

[6] Ibid

[7] From Amnesty International’s report: “Domestic Violence - Blaming the victim”, available from the AI website at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR500052006?open&of=ENG-UKR..

[8] As of 3 April 2007

[9]  As of the beginning of April 2007.

[10] In preparing material on the provision of specialized medical care to victims of violence figures and findings developed by Y.V. Onyshyn were used.

[11] The report was prepared by the AI research unit on Europe and Central Asia based on the results of monitoring of women’s rights in Ukraine, reports of specific incidents and two visits to Ukraine in 2005 and September 2006

[12] According to figures received during a discussion with district police inspectors on 28 March 2007 during the opening of a school of district police inspectors in Kyiv, organized by the Centre for Work with Women of the Kyiv City State Administration, the Central Department of the MIA in Kyiv and the International “Rozrada” Centre.

[13] Draft Law № 2539 from 14.11.2006 „On amendments to some legislative acts (on improving legislation on countering violence in the family)”, tabled by National Deputies K. Levchenko, F. Shpyh, O. Malynovsky. The draft law was passed in its first reading on 22 February 2007.  It is available in Ukrainian at: http://gska2.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb_n/webproc4_1?id=&pf3511=28663.

[14] Recommendation from the Amnesty International Report “Domestic Violence - Blaming the victim”, available from the AI website at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR500052006?open&of=ENG-UKR..

[15] Там же.

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