Lawyers specialising in domestic violence cases and women’s rights advocates have been asserting for years that in Armenia, there are no effective mechanism for preventing violence against women. Epress.am spoke about the issue with Nona Galstyan, a lawyer for domestic abuse victim Naira Smbatyan, who talked about the existence of serious systemic problems on the example of her client.
“Armenian police still do not consider domestic violence a crime. The situation is even worse when there are children involved, because it seems that law enforcement officers cannot comprehend the fact the children can also be victims of domestic abuse. For some reason, police officers are convinced that the state, and especially the police, should never get involved in personal family relations, and that spouses should resolve their issues themselves,” Galstyan said.
“Police have literally told my client to turn to whomever she wanted, to hire a personal security guard to ensure her safety. A head of an entire police department gave a ridiculous answer when I asked him what he would have done as a citizen had his life been threatened by a particular person. ‘I’d smash his head,’ he said. Even a person working in the system does not believe in the existence of any legal levers or a state structure which would stand up for the protection of the violated rights of an ordinary citizen,” she charged.
Watch the full interview with Galstyan below: