Armenia

Armenia is home to nearly one million young people. In recent years, the government has strengthened its efforts to protect children across Armenia, becoming a pathfinder country in January of 2018. Today, Armenia is tackling violence against children by engaging high-level decision-makers on an entirely new level, pushing challenges — and solutions — to the forefront of conversation. Armenia is also supported by the End Violence Fund, and is one of 10 priority countries reached by a regional project led by the Council of Europe. This project is strengthening legislative frameworks and boosting national capacity to prevent and respond to online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

1996

A law is adopted on the Rights of the Child. Though the law prohibits violence against children, it is not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment.

2012

The legal minimum age for marriage is raised to 18 for both women and men, making Armenia one of a select number of countries with an 18-year minimum. However, enforcement is inconsistent.

2015

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Armenia agrees to examine recommendations on enforcing the minimum age of marriage. The Government also accepts recommendations to prohibit all corporal punishment of children through draft amendments to the Family Code. These amendments were approved by Parliament in 2017.

2017

Parliament approves new legislation around preventing domestic violence and protecting victims of domestic violence. The Government also adopts a National Strategy on the Protection of the Rights of the Child, a policy framework outlining priorities for the period between 2017 and 2021.

2018

Armenia becomes a pathfinding country, making a formal, public commitment to push comprehensive action to end all forms of violence against children.

The Government of Armenia established an inter-agency multi-sectorial Council of Justice for Children under the Ministry of Justice. The Council of Justice for Children now comprises all concerned state agencies, the Human Rights Defender’s office, international and local child rights organizations, and other related experts. It includes the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Police and Investigative Committee, the Judiciary, the National Statistical Service, and representatives of civil society organizations and businesses. The main objectives of this multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder platform are to discuss legal, policy and implementation issues; define priorities to support children; and coordinate actions from diverse sectors and actors to end violence against children.

Through the Replace Violence with Love campaign, civil society organizations in Armenia consulted with children to yield illustrative data on the issue of violence against children. More than 117 children participated in focus groups, sharing their perceptions on the issues and offering possible solutions to prevent and fight violence.

In 2015, Armenia completed a demographic and health survey of the country, which found a high level of domestic violence and aggression against children in Armenia. In the same year, another survey found that 70.8 percent of boys and 66.8 percent of girls aged 1-17 years had experienced violence and aggression in the past year.

In 2017, Armenia created national mechanisms to monitor and report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which included the creation of the National SDG Innovation Lab, the creation of the National SDG statistical platform, and the incorporation of SDG targets and indicators into the design of relevant policies.

The Government of Armenia has made significant efforts to identify administrative data gaps and is aware of the need to fill those gaps for a more effective and timely collection of disaggregated data. This requires enhancing institutional capacities, enacting legislative amendments, and allocating the proper technical, financial and human resources. To do so, the Government is enhancing administrative capabilities in local municipalities, as large portions of the data gap are related to community, business and household-level activities.

In September 2018, UNICEF and the Government of Armenia organized a conference on violence against children. The conference focused on violence as an adverse childhood experience and illustrated its devastating effects on children. The conference touched upon INSPIRE strategies to address violence against girls and boys through prevention and response, and the importance of using a cross-sectoral approach and collaborating to achieve sustainable results. With over 100 participants, the conference included remarks by high-level officials from the Government of Armenia, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, international organizations and international and national experts. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is currently organizing a training module for the social service workforce on the early identification, prevention, and response to violence against children, which will include training for social service professionals in five pilot regions.

In February 2017, 10 major child-focused organizations came together to support a campaign on ending violence against children, along with the two media companies: Lratvakan (News) Radio and Yerkir Media TV.5. The partners jointly developed the campaign action plan and a draft campaign narrative, which presents the goals, objectives, targets and messages of the campaign, as well as child participation principles.

In 2019, End Violence and our partners are working to:

GROW DEMAND

  • By mapping of programs to prevent violence against children using the INSPIRE strategies.
     
  • By developing a multi-sectoral national action plan that focuses on prevention and response of violence against children, with specific objectives and associated costs. This project is implemented with the leadership of the Ministry of Justice.
     
  • By encouraging the amendment of the Family Code to ensure prohibition of corporal punishment in homes, alternative care and day care settings.
     
  • By pushing for the effective and timely collection of disaggregated data, contributing to an overall increase in proper administrative data on violence against children.

MOBILISE RESOURCES

  • By supporting budgeting and resource mobilization for the national action plan.

EQUIP PRACTITIONERS 

  • By developing evidence-based national guidelines on the health sector response to child maltreatment with the support of WHO and UNICEF. 
     
  • By training front-line healthcare providers in the identification of and response to children who have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. 
     
  • By synthesizing existing data using the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children Methodology, create a composite picture of violence against children and build research capacity. This project is led by the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti and national partners.