Legal assistance was provided to 567 victims of domestic violence in remote settlements and Roma neighborhoods

15-05-2023 11:43

Lawyers and Roma mediators have worked on 567 cases related to domestic violence in Veliko Tarnovo, Stara Zagora and Varna regions.

Mobile teams have provided a total of 7349 legal consultations to persons living below the poverty line in remote settlements and Roma neighborhoods there in the last two and a half years, under the project “Improving access to justice for persons living below the poverty line with a special focus on Women, Children and Roma community”, funded by the NFM 2014-2021 and implemented by the National Legal Assistance Bureau.

This was stated by the chairman of the National Association for Gender-based violence, Natalia Ilieva, during the National Conference on the role of legal aid in cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence, held in Plovdiv in implementing the project.

 "We should no longer afford to count and report the victims of domestic violence. This is a complex problem and is rooted deep in the common presence of violence in our society, in our homes. And it requires a reaction so that the public authorities coordinate and work together,” said Minister of Justice Krum Zarkov at the opening of the forum. In his words, victims often face complex administrative procedures. “Here is the place of legal assistance, whose role, with the help of the bar and the state, is to help the most vulnerable to receive adequate legal assistance,” Zarkov added.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivan Demerdzhiev, we are witnessing an increase in cases of domestic violence, and the role of legal aid is to avoid tragic incidents.

Natalia Ilieva said that more and more victims are looking for help through the regional bar centers in the country.

She recalled that in March this year a Memorandum was signed between the NBLA, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior and the bar councils in the country for cooperation and partnership for timely protection of victims of domestic violence. It envisages in every identified case of a person who has suffered from domestic violence, the authorities of the Ministry of Interior to inform it about the possibility to use free legal assistance and to assist it in contacting the Bar Council in the respective settlement.

“The signing of this memorandum was a result of the good outcome of one of the NBLA activities under our project, funded by NFM, namely the established coordination mechanism between the institutions in the Veliko Tarnovo, Varna and Stara Zagora regions for cooperation in support and protection of victims of domestic violence”, pointed out Mrs. Ilieva.

The adopted amendments to the Legal Assistance Act were discussed During the forum. NBLA Deputy Chairperson lawyer Lilia Simeonova summarized the problems in the implementation of the current Law on Protection from domestic violence and pointed out the possible solutions, made by the Ministry of Justice and proposed in the draft law on its amendment and supplement.

The event was also attended by the Chairman of the SBC Ivaylo Dermendzhiev, Deputy Ombudsman Elena Cherneva, Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv Georgi Tityukov, Deputy Regional Governor of Plovdiv Daniela Nikolova, Chairpersons of the Administrative Court – Plovdiv Mariana Shoteva, and the District Court– Plovdiv Ivan Kalibachev, Deputy Regional Prosecutor of Plovdiv Anna Vikova, the Deputy District Prosecutor of Plovdiv Rumyana Zaykova, lawyers, magistrates and Roma mediators.