Algeria: Domestic violence; protection and services available to victims (August 2006)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||31 August 2006|
|Citation / Document Symbol||DZA101675.FE|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Algeria: Domestic violence; protection and services available to victims (August 2006), 31 August 2006, DZA101675.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47d6548823.html [accessed 12 March 2014]|
|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.|
In a 12 July 2006 article published by the Algerian daily El Watan, the Commissioner of the Algerian police stated that the number of cases of violence against women is still on the rise in Algeria. In 2005, the National Public Health Institute (Institut national de santé publique, INSP) published a study on abused women conducted by the research group Violence Against Women (Violences à l'encontre des femmes). The results of the study indicated that approximately half of the 9,033 abused women who participated in the survey were married, which implies that domestic violence is widespread, since [translation] "married women account for less than a third of the population" (Algeria 2005, 42). The study indicated that 64.9 percent of attacks on women occur in the family home (ibid., 197). It also showed that close to 50 percent of the cases reported by married or formerly married women involve attacks by spouses or former spouses (ibid., 213).
The 12 July 2006 article published in El Watan indicates that
according to Algerian police records, during the first quarter of 2006, 1,762 women were abused – 1,113 of them were physically abused, 53 were sexually abused, 527 were subjected to ill-treatment, 6 were killed, and 63 were sexually harassed. The records indicated that the perpetrators were husbands in 237 of the cases, brothers in 67 cases, lovers in 67 cases, children in 52 cases, and fathers in 30 cases.
Protection and services available to victims
In correspondence from a representative of the Information and Documentation Centre for Children's and Women's Rights (Centre d'information et de documentation sur les droits de l'enfant et de la femme, CIDDEF), an Algerian non-governmental organization that defends women's and children's rights, the Representative indicated a lack of specific legislative measures against domestic violence in Algeria (19 Aug. 2006). However, the president of SOS Women in Distress (SOS Femmes en détresse), an Algerian non-governmental organization for women's rights, noted that domestic violence is punishable under Article 264 of the Algerian Penal Code (19 Aug. 2006). Article 264 (Order No. 75-47 of 17 June 1975 and Law No. 82-04 of 13 February 1982) stipulates that
any person who willfully causes injury to another person or who commits any other violent act or assault that results in illness or incapacity to work for more than 15 days shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of two months to five years and a fine of 500 to 10,000 Algerian dinars [approximately CAN$7.85 to $15.71 (Bloomberg.com 23 Aug. 2006)].
. . .
When the above-mentioned violent acts result in mutilation or the loss of use of a limb, in blindness, in the loss of an eye or in any other permanent injury, the perpetrator shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of 5 to 10 years.
If the violent act or injury is committed willfully but without intent to kill and the injuries sustained by the victim lead to death, the perpetrator shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of 10 to 20 years. (Lexalgeria n.d.)
The President of SOS Women in Distress and the Representative of CIDDEF indicated that abused women must present a doctor's note certifying their injuries and the period during which they could not work before they can file charges under Article 264 of the Algerian Penal Code (SOS Femmes en détresse 19 Aug. 2006; CIDDEF 19 Aug. 2006). The President of SOS Women in Distress stated that victims who want to file a complaint must first go to a police station with their medical certificate (19 Aug. 2006). Then their file is forwarded [translation] "to the judge who will decide the punishment" to be imposed on the perpetrator (SOS Femmes en détresse 19 Aug. 2006). No information on the enforcement of Article 264 of the Algerian penal code could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
The CIDDEF representative stated that Algeria has six centres that work with abused women; two are managed by community organizations and four by the Algerian government (19 Aug. 2006). No additional information on these centres could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints for this Response.
The CIDDEF representative also noted that community organizations are starting to raise awareness of domestic violence among police officers and gendarmes (CIDEFF 19 Aug. 2006). However, correspondence from the President of SOS Women in Distress indicated that domestic violence is still a part of [translation] "private life" and that neither the police nor the gendarmes tend to intervene in domestic disputes (19 Aug. 2006). She also stated that abusive husbands often prevent their wives from filing complaints (SOS Femmes en détresse 19 Aug. 2006). According to the study conducted by Violence Against Women, the victims who report attacks are mostly educated women with a certain degree of financial independence (Algeria 2005, 43). According to the CIDDEF representative, many victims of domestic violence do not dare to file complaints against their aggressors because the family code does not protect them (19 Aug. 2006).
In an article published in El Watan, a representative of the government department responsible for families and the status of women indicated that her department is working to implement [translation] "an empowerment program for abused women and children" that will run until 2007 (12 July 2006). In addition to bringing about legislative reforms, the program will encourage victims to become independent (El Watan 12 July 2006; CIDDEF 19 Aug. 2006).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Algeria. 2005. Institut national de santé publique. "Violences à l'encontre des femmes, l'enquête nationale."
Bloomberg.com. 23 August 2006. Investment Tools. "Calculators – Currency Calculator."
Centre d'information et de documentation sur les droits de l'enfant et de la femme (CIDDEF). 19 August 2006. Correspondence from a representative.
Lexalgeria. N.d. Code pénal.
SOS Femmes en détresse. 19 August 2006. Correspondence from the president.
El Watan. 12 July 2006. Salima Tlemçani. "Agression contre les femmes : la pénalisation de la violence conjugale envisagée."
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Algeria-Watch and the Algerian Institut de santé publique did not respond within the time constraints for this Response.
Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT).