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Population size: 


Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

The Iraq Family Health Survey (IFHS) of 2006/7 found that one in five Iraqi women are subject to physical domestic violence. A 2012 Planning Ministry study found that at least 36 percent of married women reported experiencing some form of psychological abuse from their husbands, 23 percent verbal abuse, 6 percent physical violence, and 9 percent sexual violence.[2]

According to the UN, 46 percent of married women in Iraq have survived some form of abuse at home, of which a third report physical and sexual assault.[3]

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:

The head of Iraq's community police, Brigadier General Ghalib Atiyah, told journalists that its log of domestic violence cases has increased by an average of 30 percent since the curfew came into force – with some areas seeing as high as a 50-percent spike.[4], [5]

Current law and policy:

There is a lack of accountability mechanisms in place for perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence. The current draft Family Protection Law is designed to protect family as a whole rather than the victim. It prioritises reconciliation and mediation rather than justice for the abused victims which can put victims at further danger of being forced to return. The Iraq Penal Code no.111 of 1969 includes provisions on physical assault but lacks explicit reference to domestic violence. The Penal Code Article 14 – permits domestic violence allowing the punishment of a wife by her husband within certain limits prescribed by custom or law.

UN urges Iraqi Parliament to speed up the endorsement of the anti-domestic violence law. Alarming reports of a rise in gender-based and domestic violence cases, especially with increased household tensions due to COVID confinement. Reports of the rape of a woman with special needs, spousal abuse, immolation and self-immolation. Self-inflicted injuries due to spousal abuse, sexual harassment of minors and suicide due to DA. Calls upon authorities to ensure judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers, invest more in hotline and online services, support civil society organisations, keep shelter doors open and punish perpetrators. Asked to prioritise.[6]

Report on Human Rights in Iraq January to June 2017. UNAMI and UN Human Rights[7] sets out:

  • Page x/11 – no accountability mechanisms in place for perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence. Lack of movement in Council of Representatives to push through domestic violence legislation in accordance with international human rights standards and norms. 

  • Draft law remains stalled in Parliament and fails to offer long-term protection for victims, penalise offenders or establish obligations for police and prosecutors to respond to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE incidents.