Security Research

Protection against Partner Violence in the Republic of Moldova

Project Management  
and implementation:   Dr. Birgitt Haller
Financed by:   OSCE
Concluded in:   December 2013

Birgitt Haller was invited by the OSCE as an international expert to evaluate Moldova′s protection measures against domestic violence. The so-called Law 45, which had come into force in September 2008, is oriented along the Austrian anti-violence legislation: both by having introduced a judicial interim injunction and by the currently discussed instrument of a barring order by the police. The evaluation is based on 29 expert interviews: with representatives of victim protection agencies (mostly NGOs), of law enforcement, and of relevant ministries.

Moldova faces the same problems as Austria at the end of the 1990ies: reluctance of the police to carry out interim injunctions imposed by the courts, misogyny in the police force and at court, ignorance about violent relationships, lack of understanding that living without violence is a human right and that therefore also violence in intimate relationships needs to be punished.

Moreover, women′s shelters in Moldova only have two thirds of the number of beds the Council of Europe considers necessary, and, as after-care can only rarely be offered (not least because of the lack of affordable social housing), most women return to the perpetrators after a few months. The women′s situation is worsened by the extremely high unemployment rate in Moldova (more than forty per cent), but there are a few institutions that support the economic empowerment of their clients, for example by financing vocational training. As may be expected, these women separate from their violent partners more often.

In the north of Moldova, a center for perpetrators that offers anti-violence trainings has been established. But no clients are referred to the center; and trainees who come there voluntarily stay away after a few training units.

Although the government of Moldova is highly committed in fighting domestic violence, and although several international organizations support and finance necessary measures, a lot of efforts are still required.