Attorney Maria Stoeva: Is Bulgarian Domestic Violence Legislation Effective?
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and in general against vulnerable groups in our society and the escalation of tensions in times of crisis, what does the legislation say and what protection does it give to victims? How effective is the Bulgarian legislation on domestic violence? Attorney Maria Stoeva comments the Domestic Violence Protection Act, adopted in 2009 and amended on several occasions since then:
"Our law is quite well formulated and ensures extremely effective protection to people subjected to domestic violence. In general, according to our law, domestic violence constitutes any act of physical, mental, emotional, economic violence, as well as the attempt to limit in some way the private life or freedom of a person."
Attorney Stoeva explained that the law encompasses quite broad range of wrongdoers, because domestic violence victimizes all kinds of individuals who are the closest relatives, children, parents, etc., as well as those more remote, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles. Besides, these may be persons who are married or in fact cohabitating. The same applies to former marriage partners too.
"In practice, domestic violence as such is a cycle of physical, verbal, emotional, economic intrusion, which is repeated increasingly often. It's usually happening to women. Most often inflicted by their partner. This violence is practiced for the purpose of gaining power, control and supremacy over the victim – these are the specifics of domestic violence.
In order to help victims of domestic violence get out safely from the relationship they are in, it is necessary both to understand the domestic violence phenomenon itself and to create strategies for finding a safe outcome."
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