Domestic violence against women not protected by Tunisian law

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Despite the nation’s adoption of progressive legislation five years ago, authorities in Tunisia have not done enough to safeguard women from domestic violence, according to a Human Rights Watch research (HRW).

The New York-based rights organization claimed in a study released on Thursday that “the authorities consistently fail to respond, investigate, and give safety to women who report assault.”

To combat domestic violence against women, Tunisia approved Law 58 in 2017. It was hailed as a trailblazing move, but the HRW report stated that “insufficient” implementation has kept women in the North African nation dangerous.

The term of violence that is punishable under the legislation was enlarged to include sexual harassment in public places. Additionally, it was designed to ensure survivors’ access to social, financial, and legal help.

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The 2017 law is usually “quite robust,” according to Kenza Ben Azouz, the author of the HRW report, but she also noted that there are changes that may be made to the law, such as expressly recognising sexual abuse within couples.

She continued that the fact that “insufficient finances allotted to the law’s execution” prevented the law from being fully implemented is concerning.

From the country’s capital Tunis, Ben Azouz told Al Jazeera that women in Tunisia “suffer from a sheer lack of safety and a true system that is in place… Many pledges have not been delivered.”

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