Path to justice is too thorny: Why do some of victims give up obtaining justice

There are faulty mechanisms in the justice system in the Republic of Moldova, primarily in cases concerning sexual abuse or domestic violence. Most of the times, the victims give up halfway as they have to experience again those events, which is against the law, Ombudswoman for Children’s Rights Maia Bănărescu stated in an interview with IPN. She explained that the court, the judge should be active and should avoid questions that can subject the person to revictimization. For his part, the lawyer should formulate the questions in a very decent and discreet way so that the victim does not experience again those traumatizing events.

“In the case of children, the parents are those who decide if they will go on or not. Some give up but justice should be anyway done. If the victims are adults, they can decide to give up at a particular stage or not. Giving up means withdrawing the application, but the offense remains. When we speak about adult victims of violence or sexual abuse, we must say that the woman does not want to go to court because she needs to go again and again through those negative feelings she experienced during the abuse. But the legislation clearly provides that revictimization should not be allowed. So, the prosecution officer, the judge of inquiry in the pre-trial process need to find answers to all the relevant questions so as to elucidate the circumstances and the woman is no longer put those questions in court,” stated Maia Bănărescu.

The Ombudswoman noted that some of the aspects are clarified in court following particular procedures but they should never talk about the personal live as this has nothing to do with the abuse.

“There is one more serious issue regarding adult women, who are left alone in the face of these cases. They need to look for lawyers, to seek expertise while in a state of affect. The woman needs to cover this road alone and when she reaches the courtroom and a lawyer or a prosecutor there puts some indecent questions about her personal life, she is traumatized again. We must act professionally. At the stage when the victim is already in court, revictimization has a very serious emotional impact,” stated Maia Bănărescu.

She noted it is very important for the victims of abuse, especially women, to have the courage to speak and denounce the cases. It is important to speak about this in society as a lot of women are now subject to violence but they don’t know that they are victims of domestic violence.

The interview entitled “Observance of human rights in the Republic of Moldova – Injustice in cases with a powerful emotional impact: abuse, violence, torture” was conducted by IPN News Agency as part of the project “Support for the Justice Reform through multimedia coverage of cases of alleged injustice”. The video variant of the interview can be seen here.

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