Ukraine: Update to Response to Information Request UKR16250.E of 24 January 1995 on the protection available to women who are victims of spousal abuse and on whether the police make official reports and maintain records regarding complaints of spousal abuse
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 April 1995|
|Citation / Document Symbol||UKR20367.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ukraine: Update to Response to Information Request UKR16250.E of 24 January 1995 on the protection available to women who are victims of spousal abuse and on whether the police make official reports and maintain records regarding complaints of spousal abuse, 1 April 1995, UKR20367.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab3c56.html [accessed 21 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to a representative of the Women's Study Centre in Kiev, there are no shelters in Ukraine for women who are victims of spousal abuse (6 Apr. 1995). However, she added that in large cities there are hotlines that provide psychological support to women victims of spousal abuse (ibid.).
She stated that police enforcement regarding complaints of spousal abuse is "kind of strong" and that physical abuse is a criminal offense (ibid.). For instance, once a complaint has been made, the police can detain the abuser (ibid.). When a call regarding spousal abuse is placed with the police, they might go to the home of the victim and warn the abuser of the possibles consequences if such an act of violence is repeated (ibid.). However, she added, violence against women is not legally distinguished as a separate crime nor is it treated as such by the police (ibid.). Hence, there are no specific records of domestic violence cases (ibid.). Furthermore, she pointed out that women usually do not report cases of spousal abuse because they are fearful of putting a family member in prison because of the conditions there (ibid.). She also reported that the "law on the books" and the law in practice are very different (ibid.).
On the other hand, the Country Reports for 1994 states that
women's group do not cite violence as a primary issue for women. Reports of violence against women are few and usually connected with the high incidence of alcoholism among men and women. There is a lack of awareness of spouse abuse and other violence against women as a women's rights issue.
Separate statistics on prosecution for wife beating or on average sentences are not available. When violence occurs, government officials have acknowledged the authorities often exert pressure on women to drop charges against their husbands to preserve the family. The low official incidence of crime against women is mirrored by the lack of media attention to the subject and the low priority that women's group place on that issue (1995, 1022).
For further information on the general situation of women in Ukraine, please refer to the attached excerpt from the 1994 document Women and Gender in Countries in Transition: A UNICEF Perspective.
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find attached the list of sources consulted in researching this information request.
Women's Study Centre, Kiev. 6 April 1995. Telephone interview with representative.