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Regional Conference on Domestic Violence Legal Reform
2/21/2008 4:54 PM

Judge Mary Louise Klas discusses strangulation issues in domestic violence with participants in the conference.
From February 12-14, representatives from 29 nations gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria in an historic effort to address violence against women through legal reform. The conference came after 15 years of work in Bulgaria and across the region to create structures within the legal system that allow women to protect themselves and their children from their batterers.

This movement to end violence against women has been gathering momentum, and country teams consisting of nonprofit advocates and government officials had the chance to meet and share information on drafting, passing, and implementing domestic violence laws in their own countries. Present at the Regional Conference on Domestic Violence Legal Reform were representatives from Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the USA.

Participants came from countries along a continuum of progress on the issue, but they came with goals, provide training and share ideas, tactics, strategies, and effective mechanisms for change. The Advocates and The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation hosted the event with the support of the Oak Foundation and the Open Society Institute’s Human Rights and Governance Program. Conference attendees will receive continued consultations as they return to their home countries to create systems that honor women’s human right to personal security.