Bulgaria-Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women-Domestic Violence-January 2020

The Advocates for Human Rights, along with The Open Door Center Foundation submitted a joint report on domestic violence in Bulgaria for the 75th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Domestic violence and other crimes of violence against women continue to be serious problems in Bulgaria. Bulgaria fails to uphold its obligations under CEDAW. Persistent harmful stereotypes and prejudices regarding women in society and the family perpetuate violence against women in Bulgaria, contributing to underreporting of violence against women. Despite some efforts at addressing domestic violence, many serious problems remain with Bulgaria’s legislation, state policy on gender-based violence against women, and its implementation. These problems result in a systemic failure to protect domestic violence victims and promote abuser accountability.

The authors of the report make several recommendations for the Government of Bulgaria:

  • Adequately support and fund NGOs that provide services for domestic violence victims and others, including provision of legal counsel and shelter; ensure that State funds allocated for these purposes are in fact distributed to NGOs supporting victims of violence and not diverted for other purposes unrelated to victim services; investigate the elimination of victim services and shelter in the Regional Directorate of Pleven and determine when and how such services will be reestablished
  •  Explicitly criminalize marital rape as an “ex officio” crime; Create and implement a system for collection of verified statistical data on cases of domestic and gender-based violence against women, accompanied by a study analyzing why cases are not reported or prosecuted
  • Develop and implement effective trainings for judicial system actors on women’s human rights, domestic violence, and implementation of the LPADV, including prioritizing victim safety and security in the issuance of orders for protection. These and similar trainings should be mandatory, regular and country-wide for police, prosecutors, and judges, as well as social service and healthcare providers, and child protection authorities