Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

Moldova: Update to MDA26309.E of 11 March 1997 on state protection available to female victims of domestic violence (1999-August 2000)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 25 September 2000
Citation / Document Symbol MDA35306.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Moldova: Update to MDA26309.E of 11 March 1997 on state protection available to female victims of domestic violence (1999-August 2000), 25 September 2000, MDA35306.E, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Commenting on a report submitted by the Moldovan government, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed its concern over "the prevalence of all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence" and the influence they have on the poor health situation of women in Moldova (12-30 June 2000).

In a 1999 issue of its bulletin, the CECIDMD (Council of Europe – Information and Documentation Centre in Moldova) stated that "at present, the frequency of domestic violence, whose victims are women and children, is acquiring alarming proportions."

The proportion of female victims of domestic violence ranges from approximately 25 per cent (Metropolitan News-Enterprise 27 Sept. 1999) to 50 per cent (Country Reports 1999 2000).

The Moldovan constitution, the criminal code and the criminal procedures code, and other special laws provide for the right to protection against any form of violence, including domestic violence (CECIDMD 1999).

Women victims of spousal abuse can file a complaint against their husbands, who, if convicted, may be sentenced to a prison term "typically" of no more than six months (Country Reports 1999 2000). However, women victims of spousal abuse reportedly tend not to seek protection from the police or the judicial system for two reasons:

– their feeling of shame;

– the expected reaction of the police who regard spousal abuse as a minor crime (ibid.).

Intervention by the State in cases of violence against women, including domestic violence, is difficult because only "severe" cases tend to be reported, while others are considered as "family conflicts" (CEDAW 12-30 June 2000; CECIDMD 1999). Victims willing to report such cases have difficulties in having access to justice (CEDAW 12-30 June 2000). In an effort to address violence against women, the Moldovan government indicated to CEDAW in June 2000 that it planned to amend the criminal code and the code of criminal procedures (ibid.). In its recommendations on how to address the issue of domestic violence, CEDAW stated:

The Committee urges the Government to place high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society, and to recognize that such violence, including domestic violence, constitutes a violation of the human rights of women under the Convention. In the light of its general recommendation 19 on violence against women, the Committee calls on the Government to ensure that such violence constitutes a crime punishable under criminal law, that it is prosecuted and punished with the required severity and speed, and that women victims of violence have immediate means of redress and protection. It recommends that measures be taken to ensure that public officials, especially law enforcement officials and the judiciary, are fully sensitized to the seriousness of all forms of violence against women. The Committee also invites the Government to undertake awareness-raising measures, including a campaign of zero tolerance, to make such violence socially and morally unacceptable (ibid.).

With respect to the prevention and the elimination of violence against women, the Moldovan government adopted the following objectives in the wake of the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women:

– Organizing a complex system of training social workers, appropriate personnel in health care, education and law-enforcement bodies, who would help the victims, who suffered from violence;

[Time period:] 1998-1999;

[Bodies involved:] Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, Ministry of Education and the local administration bodies;

– Analyzing current cases of violence against women and children;

[Time period:] Permanently;

[Bodies involved:] Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family;

– Setting up a series of programs and publications meant to fight the propagation of violence, pornography, other things that damage the dignity of women, etc;

[Time period:] Permanently;

[Bodies involved:] The State company "Tele-radio-Moldova" and local administration bodies (CECIDMD 1999).

However, CEDAW provided the following comments on the implementation of the Convention by the Moldovan government:

The Committee considers that the country's on-going political and economic change and the resulting level of women's poverty are major impediments to the full implementation of the Convention.


The Committee, while appreciating the efforts undertaken to implement the Convention, notes with concern that the legislative framework for the implementation of the Convention has not yet been completed, and that several critical legislative proposals and amendments remain at the drafting stage (12-30 June 2000)

With the assistance of foreign partners, the Moldovan government "supports" initiatives aimed at sensitizing the population to domestic violence and training civil servants, in particular members of law-enforcement agencies, in how to approach this problem (Country Reports 1999 2000).

In an effort to address the problem of domestic violence in their city, officials from the police department, the courthouse and the city hall of Balti (northern Moldova) arrived on 11 August 2000 in their sister city, Lakeland, Florida, to spend two weeks (The Tampa Tribune 19 Aug. 2000). During their stay, funded by the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) program of the police department, they were to meet with police and city officials who would train them to establish a similar program in their city (ibid.). In September 2000, officials of the DART and the police department would fly to Balti for the official beginning of the programme (ibid.). According to the Lakeland Police Chief, domestic violence has yet to be officially recognized as a problem in Moldovan society (ibid.).

In October 1999, a project to establish a women's shelter in Chisinau was announced by the mayor of Chisinau and the wife of Moldova's president (Country Reports 1999 2000). Run by a private organization whose executive director is a member of parliament, the shelter would be housed in a former kindergarten donated by the city authorities (ibid.).

The American International Health Alliance (AIHA) makes reference to two staff members of a Women's Wellness Center (WWC) located in Iasi (northeastern Romania) who attended a conference on domestic violence held in Chisinau on 8-11 November 1999 (1 Oct. – 31 Dec. 1999). During their stay in the Moldovan capital, they also visited a new centre offering support to victims of domestic violence within the Chisinau WWC and met with medical professionals, police officers and officials with the Justice Ministry involved in the prevention and control of domestic violence in Moldova (ibid.).

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


American International Health Alliance (AIHA). 1 October – 31 December 1999. Quarterly Report. [Accessed 19 Sept. 2000]

Consiliului Europei – Centrul de Informare şi Documentare în Moldova (CECIDMD; Council of Europe – Information and Documentation Centre in Moldova). 1999. "Women and Poverty Level." [Accessed 19 Sept. 2000]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999 . February 2000. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 12 Feb. 2000]

Metropolitan News-Enterprise. 27 September 1999. "USC Law School's Karen Lash to Aid Law Clinics in Moldova." (NEXIS)

The Tampa Tribune. 19 August 2000. Jill King Greenwood. "Lakeland Officials Play Host to Officials from Sister City in Moldova." (NEXIS)

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 12-30 June 2000. Consideration of Reports of States Parties. Republic of Moldova. Initial Report. [Accessed 19 Sept. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Unsuccessful attempts to contact an oral source.

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International (AI)

Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI)

Freedom in the World 1999-2000

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

The Institute for Research of Human Development "TIT"

Interlic [Chisinau]

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF-HR)

The Network of East-West Women

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Moldova

United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women

The Women's Watch

World News Connection (WNC)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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