The 94-page report, “So What If He Hit You?: Addressing Domestic Violence in Tunisia,” found that despite the commitment of some officials and one of the strongest laws against domestic violence in the Middle East and North Africa, poor implementation of the law leaves women at risk of violence. The authorities fail to systematically respond, investigate, and provide protection to women who report violence, and a lack of funding for support services, such as shelter, has left many survivors with nowhere to escape.
The 86-page report, “Combatting Domestic Violence in Turkey: The Deadly Impact of Failure to Protect,” found failure to enforce court orders leaves women open to continuing abuse from current or former husbands and partners. In some cases, women have been killed despite having obtained restraining orders intended to protect them. The research took place against the backdrop of Turkey’s July 2021 withdrawal from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.
Weak State Response to Domestic Violence in Tajikistan
This report and its recommendations focus on violence against women by male partners and their relatives, including mothers-in-law. Dozens of survivors of domestic violence all across Tajikistan, from cities and villages alike, told Human Rights Watch harrowing stories of the worst kinds of abuse, including sadistic violence committed by perpetrators who span nearly every socioeconomic category.
Weak State Response to Domestic Violence in Russia
This report details the barriers survivors face in reporting abuse and getting help. They include social stigma, lack of awareness, and lack of trust in police. Police often refuse to register or investigate women’s reports of domestic violence, instead funneling victims into the patently unfair and extremely burdensome process of private prosecution, for which the victim must gather all necessary evidence and bear all costs. Human Rights Watch also found that survivors face obstacles to finding emergency shelter.
Impunity in Domestic Violence Cases in the Brazilian State of Roraima
This report examines systemic problems in responding to domestic violence in the state. Human Rights Watch documented 31 cases of domestic violence, and interviewed victims, police, and justice officials. The organization found failures at all points in the system for responding to domestic abuse.
This report found that domestic violence survivors face an uphill struggle to obtain justice and personal security. They face social stigma, economic dependence on the abusers, a shortage of shelters, lack of an adequate response from the police, the prosecutors, and the judges in investigating abuse, and judicial hurdles such as unreasonable evidentiary requirements.
This report examines in detail the panoply of formal and informal barriers women in Saudi Arabia face when attempting to make decisions or take action without the presence or consent of a male relative. As one 25-year-old Saudi woman told Human Rights Watch, “We all have to live in the borders of the boxes our dads or husbands draw for us.” In some cases, men use the permission requirements to extort large sums of money from female dependents.
Abuse and Exploitation of Migrant Domestic Workers in Oman
This report documents how Oman’s kafala(sponsorship) immigrant labor system and lack of labor law protections leaves migrant domestic workers exposed to abuse and exploitation by employers, whose consent they need to change jobs. Those who flee abuse – including beatings, sexual abuse, unpaid wages, and excessive working hours – have little avenue for redress and can face legal penalties for “absconding.” Families rely on migrant domestic workers to care for their children, cook their meals, and clean their homes. Yet many migrant domestic workers, who rely on their salaries to support their own families and children at home, face cruel and exploitative conditions.
Reparations for Survivors of Kenya’s 2007-2008 Post-Election Sexual Violence
This report is based on interviews with 163 women and girls, nine male survivors, and witnesses of rape or other sexual violence in the post-election period. Human Rights Watch found that most of the survivors interviewed were still in dire need of medical attention, leaving them unable to work or pursue education, adding to their poverty and hunger. The government has recently promised reparations, which should be designed in consultation with survivors of sexual violence to ensure their full inclusion in all programs.
This 59-page report documents systemic failures in how the government responds to domestic violence – failures which often leave women unprotected and subject to ongoing violence, even when they have gone to great lengths to seek help and justice.
This 98-page report documents obstacles to accessing help or justice in cases of severe domestic abuse. Despite a 2003 domestic violence law, which guarantees survivors’ rights to protection, social services, and redress, Human Rights Watch’s report exposes gaps in state response to domestic violence, including police refusing to register or investigate complaints, police and courts failing to issue or enforce protection orders, and courts and prosecutors treating domestic violence as a minor offense carrying light penalties.
Lack of Protection from Domestic Violence in Hungary
The 58-page report documents chronic brutal violence against women by their intimate partners and the challenges women face in seeking state protection and services. It documents the gaps in Hungary’s legal and policy framework, despite a recent legal reform, in responding to domestic violence and the failure of the authorities to adequately protect women who experience such violence.
Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada
The 89-page report documents both ongoing police failures to protect indigenous women and girls in the north from violence and violent behavior by police officers against women and girls. Police failures and abuses add to longstanding tensions between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and indigenous communities in the region, Human Rights Watch said.
Migrant Women’s Access to Protection for Family Violence in Belgium
This 59-page report found three major protection gaps for migrant women who experience domestic violence in that country. Women who migrate to Belgium to join a husband or partner may face deportation if they report the violence during the period when their status is being confirmed, as do undocumented migrant women.
This 54-page report documents the lifelong damage to girls who are forced to marry young. Yemeni girls and women told Human Rights Watch about being forced into child marriages by their families, and then having no control over whether and when to bear children and other important aspects of their lives.
Family Violence in Turkey and Access to Protection
This report documents brutal and long-lasting violence against women and girls by husbands, partners, and family members and the survivors’ struggle to seek protection. Turkey has strong protection laws, setting out requirements for shelters for abused women and protection orders.