Woman’s death could be avoided if law enforcement responded promptly in cases of domestic violence

„This case is a consequence of the inaction of law enforcement. There is a total lack of promptness, a grave violation of all professional norms and regulations by several law enforcement officials of different levels” – commented Daniela MISAIL-NICHITIN, Director of the „La Strada” Women’s Program, in relation to the death of the 80-year-old woman (E.L.), murdered in her own house by her nephew.

The International Center La Strada deeply regrets the death of the woman and expresses its concern that a serious case of domestic violence is treated by the law enforcement authorities as a domestic dispute. This is not really a case where police officers had to go to neighbors to find out that „it’s not the first time the man became violent in the victim’s house”. La Strada lawyer has repeatedly notified law enforcement authorities on multiple cases of domestic violence (not simply “a dispute”!) throughout May and almost every day in June.

The death of this woman could have been avoided if the responsible authorities had performed their duties properly, in accordance with current legislation, with internal regulations in the field of preventing and combating domestic violence, especially in cases of multiple vulnerability (age, health of the person). This is the case of a sick person, bedridden, who is physically unable to leave her residence or defend herself.

From May 23, when the lawyer Ana Nani has started to represent the rights of the sister (M.L.) of the deceased, also a victim of the violence of her nephew, a complaint was filed with the Chisinau Court for the issuance of the protection order for 90 days, ordering the aggressor to leave the domicile shared with the two aunts. 

On May 24, in the morning, after M.L. got discharged from hospital, where she was hospitalized as a result of multiple physical injuries caused by her nephew, she called 112 to tell that she could not return to her residence because the aggressor continued to be there. The same day, the lawyer A. Nani notified the local police officer that the protection order had not been enforced. La Strada lawyer also informed the police officer that the sister of her client, E. L., who was bedridden, was supposed to imminent danger.

Then the International Center La Strada submitted a request to the Chief of the General Police Inspectorate and Chief of the Chisinau Police Department, requiring urgent intervention on this serious case of domestic violence, in order to investigate the circumstances of physical aggression and failure to enforce the protection order. Following several discussions with the sector police officer, on June 5 a criminal case was initiated on the failure to comply with the protection order. 

During this period of time, none of the representatives of the law enforcement authorities raised the question of detaining or arresting the aggressor, given the increased risk faced by these women. At the same time, on June 5, Ana Nani filed a complaint requesting the perpetrator's pre-trial arrest. On June 8, the man was detained for his aunt's murder.

Today, the International Center La Strada sent a complaint on this case to the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Moldova, requesting that all responsible persons be held accountable for not undertaking the necessary actions to counteract the violence committed in the given case. 

To be mentioned that according to the statistical data for 2018, in an attempt to solve their personal safety problems, before calling the Women and Girls’ Trust Line, every second woman – victim of domestic violence – previously asked the relevant authorities for help. 

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