Ukraine - Human Rights Council- Domestic Violence - March 2017

The Advocates for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Center “Women’s Perspectives,” submitted a report addressing domestic violence in Ukraine to the Human Rights Council for its Universal Periodic Review of Ukraine in November 2017.

Although the Ukrainian government has put in place different measures to protect people from domestic violence, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture still have concerns about the issue of domestic violence in Ukraine. As of now the Criminal Code in Ukraine prohibits bodily injury, battery, and torture, but less serious crimes committed within the family are subject to private prosecution.

Victims of domestic violence are often not taken seriously when reporting their story because officials view it as a family issue. Harmful misperceptions among government officials, police, judges, and lawyers create barriers for women seeking to access justice. Even if a story of abuse is taken seriously, perpetrators typically face only administrative penalties. In addition, Ukraine does not have any rape crisis centers, sexual assault centers, centers for girls experiencing sexual abuse, intervention centers, regional crisis centers for victims of domestic violence, or centers for women victims of trafficking.

This report suggests multiple recommendations to help reduce domestic violence in Ukraine, including: 

 

  • Ensuring the reform of criminal legislation to make domestic violence and spousal rape illegal;
  • Mandating ongoing and regular training on domestic violence and best practice responses, in consultation with or led by NGOs that serve victims of domestic violence;
  • Providing funding and support to shelters and non-governmental organizations that help victims of domestic abuse;  
  • Strengthening data related to domestic violence within the judiciary;
  • Ratifying the Istanbul Convention; and
  • Expediting  progress on the legislative package on violence against women.