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In a 2013 study conducted by the Albania Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), women between the ages of 18 and 55 in 3,589 households from all 12 prefectures of Albania were interviewed regarding their experiences with domestic violence by a spouse or intimate partner (Albania and UN Nov. Of the women who participated in the survey, the following had experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives: 58.2 percent had experienced psychological violence 23.7 percent had experienced physical violence 7.9 percent had experienced sexual violence 24.6 percent had experienced both physical and sexual violence (ibid., 33-34). Some sources reported figures that differed from the police statistics (UN 23 Apr.
Within the twelve months prior to the survey (2012-2013), 52.8 percent had experienced psychological violence 14.7 percent had experienced physical violence 5 percent had experienced sexual violence 16.2 percent had experienced both physical and sexual violence (ibid.). Several sources indicate that 16 women were killed as a result of domestic violence in 2012 (ibid.; Albania and UN Nov.
Statistics on domestic violence vary by source (UN 23 Apr.
32), which was an increase of 345 cases from 2011 (ibid.; AI 2013). The strategy aims to strengthen "legal and administrative protection and support services for victims of gender-based violence," as well as increasing the punishment and expanding training for judicial and other public officials (ibid.). 3.2 Police The UN Special Rapporteur's report indicates that the police arrested 119 people for domestic violence in 2012, up from 63 in 2011 (UN 23 Apr. According to the Data Centrum study, there is a Child Protection and Domestic Violence Sector of the Albanian State Police, and there are regional Child Protection and Domestic Violence units, consisting of four employees in Tirana, two employees in Fieri, and one employee in each of the remaining regional units in Shkodra, Dibra, Kukës, Lezha, Vlora, Gjirokastra, Korça, Berat, Durrës and Elbasan (Oct. According to Data Centrum's survey, based on respondents' own personal experience or the experience of friends or family, 74 percent said that the police were effective in immediate reaction to domestic violence incidents, 64 percent said the police were effective in support/assistance given to victims of domestic violence, 56 percent said the police were effective in prevention of domestic violence (ibid., 67). The UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern that perpetrators of domestic violence were rarely convicted (UN 22 Aug.
In her opinion, the national referral mechanism has resulted in "some achievements" but there is still a need for it to work "more effectively," such as the need for the prosecution and social services to take a more active role (ibid.). According to the same source, this increase was viewed by the government as a result of the amendments to the Criminal Code in 2012 (ibid.). The government reported to the UN Special Rapporteur that 100 police officers had received training on domestic violence as of April 2013, as well as 1,800 health and social workers (UN 23 Apr. Sources indicate that the police receive ongoing training on domestic violence (CLCI 15 Apr. 3.3 Judiciary According to Amnesty International, there were 35 cases of domestic violence registered under Article 130/a in the Tirana Court records for 2012; of those, 23 cases were concluded by the end of 2012, from which 5 perpetrators received jail sentences of up to a year, and 3 received suspended sentences, while 15 perpetrators fell under a general amnesty covering domestic violence offences committed before 30 September 2012 (Oct. Further statistics on the number of prosecutions and convictions for domestic violence could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. Similarly, the UN Special Rapporteur's report stated that perpetrators of domestic violence are "often not properly prosecuted and punished by the courts" (ibid.
In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an attorney with the Center for Legal Civic Initiatives (CLCI), an Albanian not-for-profit organization that operates as a legal and psycho-social service centre for women who have suffered violence (CLCI n.d.), explained that the national referral mechanism establishes a procedure for local governments to refer cases of domestic violence and consists of a council at the higher level of government as well as multi-disciplinary teams at the municipal level, consisting of a coordinator and representatives from the prosecution, police, district government and social services (CLCI 15 Apr. She noted that, while not operational throughout Albania, the referral system has been established in approximately 15-20 municipalities, including Tirana, Korca, Burat, Vlora, and Elbasan, and there are efforts being made to establish it in other municipalities (ibid.). According to the Albanian State Police official, the police provided several training sessions on domestic violence in 2013, including information sessions on legislative changes, legal issues and policies, the referral mechanism, protective measures, and standard procedures (Albania 28 Apr. A total of 162 officers were trained in these sessions (ibid.). She indicated that a training unit at the Ministry of Interior has been "highly effective" in raising the capacity of the police in handling domestic violence (ibid.). According to the CLCI attorney, the judiciary have received training and continue to receive training about domestic violence (15 Apr. The UN Special Rapporteur expressed that there is a need for the Albanian authorities to properly train prosecutors and judges, but also indicated that, according to the Albanian government, some training of the judiciary had taken place in 2012 (UN 23 Apr.
Annual Report on the Activity of the People's Advocate 1st January - 31 December 2012. The CLCI attorney noted that the 48 hour period required to obtain an emergency protection order it is often a "dangerous time" for the woman (15 Apr. According to an assessment made by the European Commission, the national shelter "applies unnecessarily restrictive criteria for admission and provides few facilities for emergency needs" (EU 16 Oct. According to the UN Special Rapporteur, many staff involved with domestic violence victims are not properly trained or specialized and the budget for the national shelter is very low compared to the need (UN 23 Apr. After receiving complaints, the People's Advocate inspected the shelter in April 2012 and called for the director's dismissal (Albania , 169; AI ), as did AI, in a public statement (ibid.). The UN Special Rapporteur also mentioned a shelter run by an NGO in Gjirokastra (UN 23 Apr. According to the UN Special Rapporteur, the NGOs have "very limited hosting capacity" (UN 23 Apr. According to the researcher, there are four NGO shelters with a total capacity of 60 beds, whereas Albania would need approximately 300 beds to meet European standards (Researcher 22 Apr. She said that "Refleksione Tirana" offers a shelter and hotline in Tirana and a hotline in other towns in the country, that "Different but Equal" offers a shelter, that "Tjeter Vision" offers a shelter in Elbasan and "Vatra" offers a shelter in Vlora (ibid. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request. In 20, victims of domestic violence reported that they were mistreated and verbally abused by the director of the national shelter (ibid., para. There was also a case in which a victim at the shelter was attacked by her former husband and seriously injured (ibid.; UN 23 Apr. According to the People's Advocate, the victim lost her eye as a result of the attack (Albania , 167). The attorney from CLCI mentioned an additional shelter in Elbasan operated by the NGO "Women's Forum" that provides temporary emergency service (CLCI 15 Apr. According to the CLCI attorney, the shelter in Vlora is operated by the NGO "Vatra," the one in Elbasan by the NGO "Other Vision," and the ones in Tirana are operated by "Different but Equal" and "Shelter for Women and Girls" (ibid.). He indicated that the Elbasan shelter has a capacity to accommodate 21 people and the Vlora shelter has a capacity of 20 people (ibid.). The European Commission indicates that NGO-run shelters do not receive state funding (EU 16 Oct. According to the UN Special Rapporteur, public funding of shelters is "very limited" (23 Apr. A police officer interviewed by Data Centrum also indicated that NGOs can accommodate victims before the protection order is secured (Data Centrum Oct. The CLCI attorney said that many of the NGO shelters offer counselling or psychological support to victims, or refer the women to other organizations that can offer psychological support (CLCI 15 Apr. 4.2 Other Support Services Sources indicate that there is no national hotline for victims of domestic violence (ibid.; EU 16 Oct. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Similarly, AI noted that punishments for perpetrators who break the conditions of the protection orders "are not consistently implemented" (Oct. The CLCI attorney said that the violation of protection orders is one of the biggest challenges facing victims of domestic violence (15 Apr. The UN Special Rapporteur reported a case from September 2011 in which a victim of domestic violence who reported her case to the police and had a protection order was inadequately protected and was subsequently killed by her husband (23 Apr. The UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about "the lack of follow-up to protection orders, rendering them largely ineffective" (ibid.). The Law on Legal Aid was amended in May 2013 to grant exemptions from court fees and court expenses for beneficiaries of legal aid, including victims of domestic violence (AI Oct.
Baseline Study Report on Domestic Violence and Albanian State Police.