Violence against Women

work of Women's NGOs of the I.R.I



The Iranian society is based on Islamic-Iranian culture and is a society based on

peace and friendship culture and considers violence in the family very bad. Peace

and kindness is an old moral custom in Iran and kindness and guarding children and

women’s dignity is respected and is against violence and those who apply violence.

Considering the fact that Iranian society is following values and is bound to moral

principles and respecting mothers is very important and has special status in public

culture. Since long ago, public spheres and family have been a safe environment for


Changing social relations and necessity of women’s presence at work and in the

society, expansion of cities, women attained new roles which were not according to

patriarchy which had the role of supporting and protecting women. This caused

more violence against women in the country. Although powerful social capitals and

strong family relations on one hand and sensitivity of leaders and governmental

implementers on the other hand regarding violence against women is scattered and


The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Article 21

1. Create a favorable environment for the growth of woman’s personality and the

restoration of her rights, both the material and intellectual;

Article 22

The dignity, life, property, rights, residence, and occupation of the individual are

inviolate, except in cases sanctioned by law.


The twenty years vision of the country:

Creating a society based on morality and Islamic, national and the Revolution values

and respecting human dignity and rights enjoying social and judicial security.

Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities

61. Right to be immune from verbal and behavioral aggression of others and responsibility

of treating members of society with respect

5. This Charter does not intend to stipulate the manner of implementation of rights

and responsibilities, although it is a necessity to guarantee it, observing the structure

of laws.

11. Since the Charter aims to state women’s rights and responsibilities, the mention

of individuals or institutions in charge of the implementation of these rights has

been avoided. Undoubtedly, this Charter is a basis for policymaking, planning, and

legislation on women’s issues in all organizations.

Current Situation and Achievements

Measures to Prevent Violence


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Necessity of taking integrated decisions and existence of a support system to eliminate

violence against women and taking preventive measures.

One of the main steps taken by the government during the last eight years, has been

establishing the National Committee of Elimination of Violence against Women in

the Center for Women’s Participation with membership of many representatives

from related bodies and representatives of NGOs and universities. This committee

was following two different issues: first, the efforts for legal recognition of the

Committee to institutionalize their campaign and second, was preparing a national

plan of action to address violence against women. Some scattered measures were

taken by other organizations in this regard. Although, these actions are effective but

since they are not integrated the level of efficiency is not really defined. A sample

of these activities is the efforts of the Welfare Organization in establishing “Health

Houses” and Crisis Intervention Centers. There has not been enough dissemination

of information regarding the existence of these houses and centers. So, the referral

rate of women to these centers cannot be estimated. It seems that besides establishing

such centers, the Welfare Organization should also apply to train men and

women so that female victims would know that they can report these cases to related

organizations. Training female police officers is another activity that can help to

address violence against women.

Legal Support

To provide access for female victims to court and legal education of women regarding

their rights, an amendment was made to essential qualifications for selection of

judges so that the supreme judge can select and recruit qualified women to serve as

consultants to the judiciary bodies of the government, special civil courts,

researcher judges.

Some amended laws to support women and girl-child exposed to violence are as follows:

Amendment of article 1173 of civil law to remove guardianship of the child from

parents in case immoralities are detected.

Cases of abandon, meaning that the man leaves the house for 6 to 9 continuous

months without any reason, addiction, beating, bad behavior of the spouse, or incurable

psychological disease, divorce is approved.

The law to support children and adolescence to support individuals under 18 and

punishment of child or adolescence abuse.



Domestic Violence Against Women

National research on domestic violence against women, in 28 provinces of the

country, has been a joint project between the Center for Women’s Participation and

the Social Department of the Ministry of Interior conducted in collaboration with

the Ministry of Science since 2001 up to now. This project has five phases and is

based on claims of 12 thousand and 596 women and 2 thousand and 66 men selected

from 100 thousand complaint cases referred to family court, Legal Medical

Department, Police, Welfare Centers, Martyrs’ Foundation and Foundation for

Handicapped (Bonyard-e Janbazan) during 1996 up to 2001 and compared to 45

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indicators of domestic violence rate against women. According to this national

research conducted in 28 provinces, average rates of different stages of women’s

life show that in the first year of marriage, financial problems, after first child, middle-

age, and pregnancy are the most violent years of a women’s life and violence

reaches its minimum rate at the time of high income, before sexual relation, old-age

and during working days of a week.

The overall estimate in 28 provinces show that 60 percent of the families covered

in the research, since the beginning of their marital life have experienced violence

for at least once in its general definition. 30 percent have at least once experienced

serious physical violence and 10 percent of these families have experienced temporary

of permanent damages of these violence.


The investigations show that those individuals involved in violence in its general

type from the beginning of marital life: illiterate, post-graduate, and BS degree

holders in physical violence, second type: illiterate, MS degree holders and above

in psychological, verbal violence, illiterate, post-graduate and BS degree holders

have presented maximum and minimum violence and in the damages caused by

violence, threats and physical violence such as sexual, financial, legal and violence

related to divorce and violence in deprivation from social, mental, and educational

violence is significantly different in various education levels involved in violence.


Level of income and its impact over violence shows that in families with 752260

Rials up to 3000000 Rials expenditure, maximum and minimum rate of violence

can be observed regarding general indicators and damages caused by violence.

Health and Sanitation

According to the research conducted regarding factors influencing domestic violence

against women, considering the responses given by women suffering from

different diseases and those suffering depression and psychological problems or

having spouses suffering the abovementioned cases, have experienced domestic

violence more than others and violence harms and damages have been more among

those consuming any kind of medicine.

On the other hand, violence against women having children with two kinds of diseases

and women with healthy children face the maximum and minimum rate of


In 2004, two thousand and 165 cases of harassment have been reported in the country;

out of which 550 have faced physical violence, 495 have faced psychological

violence, 884 have faced armed threats, 236 have faced sexual violence and 3 of

them died due to incurable damages caused by violence.

Husband killing

According to the results gained from a research conducted in the prison with women

convicted with death crimes, the reason of husband killing among 86 percent of

these women, is the violence conducted against them. The research results show

that more than 83 percent of these murders is unfaithfulness of the husband. Fear

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from the husband and feeling despised is also the reason of 80 percent of cases of

husband killing.

Main Causes of Violence

The main causes of domestic violence against women in Iran are:

Being away from religious trainings and models that invite people to kindness and


Weakness of laws and special support system for women.

Lack of consult centers and special courts for violence against women.

Lack of knowledge of couples regarding their rights and legal duties.

Economic dependence of women to men for living expenses.

Misinterpretation of religious commandments and advertisement of wrong practices.

Lack of mass media coverage in violence against women.

Considering divorce a shame and believing to continue marital life in anyway possible.

Weakness of religious believes and values regarding human behavior with women.

Creating a social support network to render services and establishment of police for

women including high rank police officers and amendment or change of civil and

criminal laws containing violence and possibility of a safe house for women are

some of the strategies to control or eliminate domestic violence.

Suicide of Women

Another research has been conducted by the Center for Women’s Participation

under the supervision of the National Committee of Elimination of Violence

Against Women regarding suicide rate among women in 28 provinces and the information

of each has been collected in a research and submitted to government.

According to the report the suicide rate among women in the whole country within

1995 till 1999 shows that in general in 1996, 5.88 person out of 100000 committed

suicide. This rate in 1997 reached to 4.42 and in 1998 to 4.53, in 1999 to 3.24 which

means that in 1996 we have had the highest incident and in 1997 it mitigated, in

1998 it has a slight increase and in 1999 it had significant decrease and it can prove

that society is improving its attitudes regarding women’s issues.

The report shows that except in Semnan province where suicide rate is increasing

in other provinces the incident of suicide among women has decreased. In

Kordestan, Semnan, Kohgilouyeh and Bouyerahmad, Markazi, Hormozgan, Yazd,

Sistan and Balouchistan, suicide rate in 1999 in comparison with 1998 has

increased though it has decreased compared to 1996 and 1997. During four years

from 1996 up to 1999 three provinces of Kermanshah, Ilam, Kohgilouyeh and

Bouyerahmad have been the worst regarding women’s suicide incidents and in two

provinces of Tehran and Sistan and Balouchistan suicide rate among women has

been the lowest. Also, it was detected that in most provinces incident of suicide

among men is more that women. 18 to 24 is the range of age when suicide happens

among women.

Suicide Preventive Measures

The suicide preventive measures are: establishment of health houses, pseudo-fami-

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of the Islamic Republic of Iran

ly centers, crisis telephone lines, family consultation centers, organization of premarriage

consultation centers, provision of a new education curriculum including

“Rights and Knowledge of Family” in education system, promotion of culture

regarding women’s status, provisions for more serious punishment of men who

apply violence against their wife, establishment of a ministry of social welfare to

render effective services to vulnerable or affected people.

Advocacy to Combat Different Types of Violence Against Women

In Iran, at the time of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, and his warnings

regarding domestic violence, authorities found their way and people came to know

that they should seriously apply to improve the situation. Although, violence against

women has a low rate according to the national researches and in comparison with

some other countries, even that is not accepted considering our religious beliefs and

it cannot be justified. This attention also involved film editors since 1999 to address

violence against women and many films were shown after. This also involved other

social groups. University students conducted researches on violence against women

for their final thesis and media presented this issue in different pages, books were

also published. NGOs, started their participatory training workshops since then in

Tehran and other provinces and some other organizations applied to support female

victims of violence and established special consultation centers for female victims.

In this way, not only in public arena but also in their private life, women’s human

rights were preserved.

Eliminate Trafficking of Women



The bill of combating trafficking of people was approved in the Islamic Parliament.

After certain reports of trafficking in women received by the Ministry of Interior,

the Islamic Republic Government submitted this bill to the Parliament. According

to this bill, forced import and export of women for prostitution, enslavement or marriage

is considered trafficking and it will be punished if it is one of the cases mentioned

in the law otherwise it will have two to ten years imprisonment and fees two

time more. Also the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran has signed the additional

protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child regarding child abuse

in pornography.

Government’s Actions

Establishment of the National Committee of Elimination of Violence against

Women (1997-2002).

Creating public sensitivity and public campaign against violence through holding


Allocation of Section G of article 111 of Fourth National Development Plan to preventive

measures and legislations combating violence against women.

Change and improving attitudes regarding women’s issues by revising books and

omitting cliché pictures of women.

Revision and amendment of discriminative laws regarding divorce and minimum

age of marriage.

Revision of notes in article 638 law regarding moral crimes and changing whipping

to imprisonment and fee.

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Stopping stoning and efforts to find a substitution.

Revising recruitment of police forces so that women are employed to combat

female social seditions.

Establishing family courts to employ legal consultants in the court.

Support and empowerment measures such as crisis centers, health houses and safe


Providing gender sensitive programs and health trainings to recognize gender based

violent acts.

Caring for women and girls in different ages who have experienced violence.

Medical and health services for girls and women with disability and vulnerable and

marginalized and victims of violence and abuse.

Medical and health services to all girls and women in different ages against violence

and abuse.

Preparation, approval and implementation of policies to combat processes affecting

women such as forced marriage or early marriage.

Holding meetings and allocation of periodicals to the issue of violence against

women and recommendations to revise laws to the Parliament through The Social

and Cultural Council of Women.

Women’s NGOs Activities

Prevention and elimination of violence against women is an issue that women’s

NGOs are interested in and there have been a lot of group efforts in this

regard. Since, violence against women has deep root in patriarchal attitudes

and mostly happens in private such as home, it needs a lot of activities to eliminate

it. Women’s NGOs have conducted 28 programs in this regard.

Holding technical meetings regarding violence against women in different event

(such as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women)

Holding meetings and training workshops regarding violence against women and

violation free relations and criminology of violence.

Holding meetings for awareness raising and consultation regarding violence against

women in marginal areas of Tehran and other cities and group movements for

awareness raising.

Research and surveillance of public attitudes regarding domestic violence, trafficking

of women, violence against women and prostitution and self-burning.

Preparing literature regarding violence against women and publishing newsletter.

Preparation of articles regarding different types of violence, combating strategies

and circumstances of violence.

The activities of NGOs have been very limited considering Beijing 12 critical areas.

It seems that women’s NGOs should pay more attention to the problem of violence

against women, especially by awareness raising and training activities. Moreover,

group and organized efforts or women’s NGOs can be more effective. NGOs have

not been active in the field of preparing literature and written sources which focuses

more on research and surveillance.

CNWN Activities

Training workshop on “Puberty health for the girl child”, Elimination of discrimi-

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nation against women, reproductive health

Statement to support Iraqi, Afghan and Algerian women

Establishing consultation centers

Fourth National Development Plan

Fourth National Development Plan of the country:

The government should undertake the following activities to improve women’s participation

in society and expanding participation levels in the country.

Necessary measures to prepare preventive programs and legislations to combat violence

against women

Challenges and Constraints

Lack of defined mechanisms in governmental bodies to organize and plan for

national campaigns to combat violence against women in the country.

Presence of wrong attitudes, being away from Islamic culture in the society which

is the main reason of violence against women, especially in some tribes.

Legal gaps and lack of support systems to protect female victims of violence

Advertisement of some violent practices in mass media

Lack of centers to protect female victims of violence.

Lack of research regarding trafficking of women, especially lack of realistic statistics

in this regard.

Recommendation to the Government

Legislation to combat and eliminate violence against women and approval of laws

to increase punishment for violence actors against women and compensation to the


Recognition of national committee on elimination of violence against women so

that its approvals can be put in force and implemented.

Involving women’s experience in legislations regarding violence against women.

Recording, collection and dissemination of information regarding violence statistics

through hospitals, Medical department of government, legal bodies so that a more

detailed perspective can be formed regarding violence against women.

Educating men and changing their attitudes, especially their behavior with their

spouse and other women in work areas or other public places.

Addressing violence through media that can have a crucial role in campaigns to

combat violence against women and eliminate wrong attitudes regarding women.

Expanding hotlines for consultations with female victims of violence, especially in

the other cities..

Facilitating NGOs’ activities for women regarding elimination of violence against

women and assisting female victims of violence.

Recommendation to Women NGOs

Fostering a legal culture, especially regarding women’s human rights, dissemination

of information, and training. Also, provisions of probable violent practices by

women’s NGOs can help to mitigate incident of violence against women.

Identify needs of female victims of violence through those NGOs rendering support

services to these groups.

Consultation to female victims of violence in different levels in different areas of

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the country by the NGOs.

Combating violence against women is a vast activity and needs cooperation

between women’s NGOs. So it is recommended that NGOs keep contact and close

collaborations to create a network.

More investments for research regarding violence against women in the country

through NGOs active in research.


In an overall view, the Islamic Republic of Iran has reacted to combat violence

against women and during the last years, measures have been taken to eliminate

violence against women. Example of such activities is establishment of Committee

of elimination of violence against women in Women’s Participation Center with

presence of representatives from bodies involved in the issue and representatives of

NGOs and universities. Widespread measures of the government in amending laws

to ensure protection of girl child against violence and establishment of support and

empowerment centers such as crisis centers, health centers and safe houses is worth


Still violence is a city phenomenon and is increasing but female victims of violence

are inactive to react against it. Through media, training and consultation there is an

effort of norm building and reducing and combating violence and to make it accepted

publicly. Sure, the pace of reducing violence will increase.

On the other hand, since kinds of domestic, street and occupation are explicit there

is no mechanism to combat violence against women with gender-perspective violence.

Now, the governmental, political, and religious leaders employ the existing

moral, believes and cultural capacities to be effective in combating violence in

social arenas.


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