Algeria routinely ‘fails’ domestic violence victims

family law

Authorities in Algeria routinely fail to protect victims of domestic violence, a human rights organisation has claimed.

A recently published report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) details several disturbing examples of people in the North African nation being abused and receiving no legal help whatsoever.

One of those instances involved a husband reportedly punching his 31 year-old pregnant wife and throwing her against a wall. She was later able to escape the house but she was still wearing her pyjamas when she did so. When she reported the attack to the Police she was told it was “not our business” by officers who called it “a family affair”. Her husband was probably just angry and would soon “come back to his senses” they told her.

This was not an unusual response from the Algerian authorities, according to the HRW report. Sarah Leah Whitson, the organisation’s Middle East and North Africa director, explained that victims of domestic abuse in Algeria “have long faced the double injustice of abuse at home and then a meagre response from the government”.

However this attitude is not just limited to the country’s police, according to the report. The woman whose husband threw her against a wall was told by her father that her destiny is to stay with [her abuser]”.

In 2015, Algeria introduced new laws criminalising domestic violence. While HRW called this “a positive step”, their report read that the government had yet to “create a comprehensive system for the prosecution of perpetrators”. Additionally, help for victims “lies almost entirely in the hands of non-governmental organisations, most of which receive no state support”.

On the nation on the Mediterranean coast of Africa, Algeria has a population of around 41 million people. Despite this number only 4,000 official cases of domestic violence were reported last year. However this was probably because “most survivors either do not press charges or drop their complaints at the investigative stage” HRW claimed.

Read the full HRW report here.

Photo of Algiers, capital of Algeria, by Hichem Merouche via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

John Smith - April 29, 2017 at 10:24am

Im not sure we should be commenting on other countries until there is some real change in the UK.

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