U.S. Police Experts on domestic violence visit Armenian counterparts

On December 11, 2015, U.S. and Armenian law enforcement officers were joined by other government officials and NGO representatives at a day-long working group to discuss ways to end the cycle of domestic violence that affects many homes in Armenia.

“Countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and have opportunities to succeed,” said Clark Price, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, as he opened the workshop in Yerevan. “Violence hinders the ability of citizens to fully participate in and contribute to their families, communities, and nation – economically, politically, and socially.”

Recent research by the OSCE revealed that 60% of respondents in Armenia, mostly female, noted they had been subjected to at least one form of domestic violence during their lifetimes. The workshop’s participants discussed ways all sectors of society can work together to reduce that number.

“Seeing so many active Armenian offices and organizations — our partners from the Armenian Police, the Investigative Committee, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, international organizations, and civil society groups – come together means, I hope, we will make progress in ending domestic violence,” DCM Price said.

Joining the Armenian attendees were two experts from the Las Vegas, Nevada Police Department: Lieutenants Kelly McMahill and Jamie Prosser. The pair spent more than a week in Armenia meeting with their peers and touring facilities designed to aid the victims of domestic violence.

The day-long workshop was the latest in the Embassy’s efforts to aid Armenians in fighting domestic violence. In November 2014, the Embassy organized a study tour for Armenian police officers to travel to Seattle and meet with their peers. In April 2015, the Embassy conducted a needs assessment to gather information on the current capacity of Armenia’s law enforcement agencies to deal with crimes of domestic violence. That assessment highlighted the importance of including other government agencies in the effort. A second study tour was organized in August 2015, through which the Embassy took representatives from the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to meet with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

Moving forward, the Embassy, its Armenian partners, and the U.S. experts will focus on three areas:  raising awareness and providing training in communities where crisis centers have been built; establishing an interdisciplinary working group focused on the development of uniform procedures to ensure consistency and efficiency across agencies investigating domestic violence cases; and creating a referral mechanism to improve coordination among the different agencies that have a role in fighting domestic violence.

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