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Legal Reform on Domestic Violence in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

2009-06-05 09:00:38 / News read 996 reading

Prepared by Cheryl A. Thomas for Expert Group Meeting on good practices in legislation on violence against women United Nations Office at Vienna, Austria.

 

Since the 1990s, there has been a great deal of activity towards legal reform on domestic violence in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (CEE/FSU). This paper will focus on the effectiveness of legislation enacted to address domestic violence in this region. Countries throughout CEE/FSU have recently enacted or are considering civil and criminal legislation that addresses domestic violence. These reforms appear most often in national plans, revisions or additions to family codes, criminal codes or, most effectively, in new more comprehensive laws addressing domestic violence. This reform has, in many circumstances, resulted in huge successes, such as groundbreaking laws and policies and practices that promote victim safety and offender accountability. 

 

Unfortunately, other reform efforts have not been successful and some have resulted in laws and policies that have hurt victims and their children and perpetuated impunity for offenders. Both situations will be addressed here. This paper will also present some examples from the state of Minnesota as a jurisdiction with longstanding domestic violence laws and experience with police, prosecutors and judges implementing these laws. For the most part, this paper will focus on the language of new domestic violence laws. It is important to note, however, the growing consensus that one of the most significant obstacles to achieving victim safety and offender accountability for domestic violence victims is gaps and weaknesses in implementation of the laws.

 

Full report:

 

Legal Reform on Domestic Violence in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union 

 

 

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