Sexual assault survivors doubly victimized by police

  23 October 2017    Read: 1700
Sexual assault survivors doubly victimized by police

The majority of criminal cases into sexual assault and harassment in Armenia get dismissed, and if cases do go to court, the accused are usually granted release on their own recognizance. Victims of sexual violence are often deprived of legal assistance, while investigators tend to engage in victim blaming, giving an assessment to their behavior, according to the findings of a study conducted jointly by the Yerevan-based Sexual Assault Crisis Center and the Investigative Committee of Armenia.

In the period 2015-2016, the Investigative Committee launched 288 sexual assault cases, 35% of which were closed, 10.7% were suspended and only 57% were sent to court with an indictment. The cases involved 208 accused, all of whom were male. The majority of the victims were women; however, the cases did involve 22 males who had been subjected to sexual violence by men, AzVision.az reports citing the Armenian media.

The investigative bodies seldom resorted to arresting the suspects: only 32 out of 208 accused men were arrested, while the majority (135 people) were released either on their own recognizance or on bail (12 people).

Most of the crimes were committed within the family: 73 of the suspects and accused were the legal husbands of the victims.

The study also revealed an increase in sex crimes committed against minors – 42% in 2015 and 51% in 2016; the majority of the victims were 14-16 year-olds.

“In some cases, investigators display victim-blaming attitudes against the adult victims; during questioning, they give assessments and make assumptions about their behavior, which may lead to double victimization,” the report reads, bringing the following example of victim blaming by investigators.

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