Population size:


Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Differing statistics depending on study:

5.4% of women had experienced physical abuse, 20% had experienced emotional abuse, and around 10% had experienced sexual abuse.[2]

32%, 49%, and 33% for physical, emotional, and sexual violence, respectively.[3]

37%, 52%, and 11% of Iranian women have experienced intimate partner physical, emotional, and sexual violence, respectively.[4]

45%, 59%, and 32% have experienced intimate partner physical, emotional, and sexual violence, respectively.[5]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

Increased during COVID-19.[6]

Current law and policy:

A lack of recognition of domestic abuse. The Centre for Human Rights in Iran called for legislation to protect women against violence in 2018.[7] The NGO argued that Iranian women are subjected to serious and sometimes fatal domestic abuse at alarming rates without any effective means of protection, whilst government takes no effective action. There is a need to prioritise parliamentary ratification of the Bill for the Protection of Women Against Violence. The call noted that women with disabilities and other vulnerable groups face heightened risk of abuse. The objectives of the Bill are to ensure women’s security against violence. 

Existing laws: the Iranian Code of Criminal Procedure, under articles 42, 43 and 66, intend to prohibit violence in the form of kidnapping, gender-based harassment, abuse of pregnant women and crimes against rights and responsibilities within the family structure. But these do not protect women due to cultural and political culture. However, the prosecuting services fail to prosecute abusers and to provide services to victims.

‘The National Policy of Iran Toward Violence Against Women’ set out the following points in 2015:[8]

  • 20 year economic, social and cultural development perspective – started 2005. Not an overreaching plan in the area of violence against women. Still prevalent, particularly in rural areas. 

  • Lack of information pertaining to women and girls, their legal rights as stated in the Constitution and Civil Laws and in particular, in Iran’s long-term development plan, which lead to mental and physical vulnerability. 

  • Ignorance of women concerning their rights due to the neglect of legislative, executive and judicial authorities and NGOs in educating women. 

  • Need to iimprove policies of anti-violence towards women, inform women about their legal rights and consider additional laws for their active participation in various socio-economic and cultural areas. 

The current law sets out the following rights of women:

  • Article 21 Iranian Constitution guarantees rights of women in all fields in adherence to the laws of Islam. 

  • Civil Law of Iran, Article 642, Chapter 19 sets out crimes against family rights and responsibilities. For example, if a man does not pay maintenance to his wife, he will be punished by law. Article 645 establishes that if a man does not officially register his permanent marriage, he will be imprisoned for one year. Laws are heavily orientated around men taking positive action rather than actions they must not do. 

  • First two development plans, published after 5 and 10 years respectively, did not contain any articles concerning violence against women. This leaves a gap in the analysis of the 20-year perspective.

  • Article 56 establishes in statute activities to be conducted by the Centre for Women’s Participation. Duties include organising common research activities to prepare plans for facilitating and following up the legal affairs of women, female households etc. 

  • A National Review Document provides strategic objectives for preventing violence against women that include the security of women and children. 

  • The Ministry of Health are writing a national mechanism to protect women against violence, free consultation on legal or judicial issues pertaining to women, empowering women to support themselves financially and a 24-hour helpline to report or seek help for any violence against women. 

  • Family intervention centres established to solve divorce disputes – mediate in family disputes. Mediation a central aspect rather than punishment or prosecution. 

Criticisms of the policies taken regarding violence against women

  • Iranian women are lacking information about their rights – root cause is neglect of the government in educating women about their rights through mass media. 

  • No articles that clearly support the rights of women or prevent violence against women in Iran’s constitution and civil laws. 

  • Increase in the number of victims of violence indicates that the applied policies are not successful, and the problem has not yet been solved or reduced. 

The press has reported an increase in domestic violence in Iran against women as a result of lock down – women’s activist. Iran’s state welfare organisation sent a text message to mobile phone users to widen awareness of hotlines to report DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Violence is linked to livelihood problems – coronavirus has caused serious economic damages/hardship in the country. Part of a global trend of surging violence against women and girls during the pandemic.[9]

Furthermore, it is reported that women are still not aware of national laws against domestic violence and believe it is limited to physical violence. Iran has been trying to develop a law for several years prohibiting violence against women. Finalised as the dignity and security of women against violence. Current laws do not specifically address the problem – no difference between the type of violence related to a female gender and other forms of violence. Law is punishment based and parts are ineffective. Many women may not have proper living and economic conditions to sue their husbands. Will face trouble if their husband goes to jail. Calls are for the culture and law to grow together.[10]

Frontline Services:



[1] The World Bank, (1).

[2] Ansari et al., (2012).

[3] Fallah et al., (2015).

[4] Bagrezaei et al., (2017).

[5] Nasiri et al., (2017).





[10] (2019)