Facts about women in Armenia
Population of women: 1,662,000/3,109,000
Life expectancy of women (at birth): 77
School life expectancy for women: 13
Women’s adult literacy: 99%¹
A survey on domestic violence in Armenia released by Proactive Society with support from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2011 found that 59.6% of survey respondents had been subjected to domestic violence in their lifetime.
The absence of comprehensive laws on DV, criminalizing DV, and provision of protection to victims of DV are serious problems that exist in Armenia. The Criminal Code does not specifically prohibit domestic violence, making it difficult to hold perpetrators accountable. General provisions in the criminal laws may be applied to certain cases, but these laws are ambiguous and difficult to apply to DV cases.
Armenia is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women (CEDAW). In 2009, CEDAW urged Armenia to “adopt comprehensive measures to address” violence against women, including strong civil and criminal domestic violence laws. To date, Armenia has not yet developed legislation to address the CEDAW Committee’s request. Additionally, Armenia has neither signed nor ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
In 2011 the government of Armenia developed a Gender Policy Action Plan 2011-2015 to improve the rights of women in the country, including the creation of a Council on Women’s Affairs. However, in May 2013, the Armenian government affirmatively rejected a domestic violence bill that had been in the drafting stages since 2007 and policies drafted in the action plan are yet to be implemented.
Armenian law is still inadequate to punish acts of domestic violence and ensure victim safety. Domestic violence constitutes a breach of human rights, particularly the right to equality and the right to life. Police response is essential to the ability of victims to seek redress under the law. By law, police should enforce those laws that exist to protect its citizens. Yet, according to Armenian officials, the police currently have few mandates to prevent abusers from entering or returning to their home, even if it places a woman or her children in danger. The Armenian police reported to the OSCE that officers have received new training on how to respond to domestic violence; however, they are still hesitant to intervene in such cases.
The “Global Gender Gap Report 2013”, published by the World Economic Forum, ranks Armenia 94 out of 136 countries in terms of gender equality. There were 8012 hotline calls for domestic violence from 2011-2013; 766 recorded cases of domestic violence in 2012 and 586 in 2013 (an unofficial estimate carried out by the civil society sector accounts for approximately 2000 cases annually). The number of deaths resulting from domestic violence are on the rise with at least 30 cases of femicide from the period of 2010-2015.