Lebanon

Population size: 

6,855,713 [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

A domestic violence advocacy group ABAAD says that one in four women in Lebanon is subject to some kind of sexual assault and an average of 13 women report sexual assaults to the police every month. [2]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

5.6% of GDP [3]

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

At least doubled, but potentially much more. Abaad, a local NGO, reports twice as many calls made in first 4 months of 2020 than in the whole of 2019.[4]


Current law and policy:

Lebanon did not join the COMMIT Initiative. In 2014, Lebanon adopted a law on combatting domestic violence. Despite this, there are still major obstacles that continue to undermine women’s rights and access to justice.

In 2008 the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women expressed concerns over the persistence of violence against women, including domestic violence and rape within Lebanon. Following this, Lebanon developed and adopted new laws and policies that aimed to protect women against gender-based violence and other human rights violations; this included the Law on combatting domestic violence (Law N0 293/2014). 

However, the law that was passed defines domestic violence narrowly. The Law established important protection measures and key policing and court reforms, but did not address issues of marital rape and other abuses. The crimes identified in the law relate to forced begging, prostitution, homicide, adultery, and the use of force or threats to obtain sex. The crimes of assault and making threats are already criminalised under the Lebanese Penal Code but have not been explicitly incorporated as a crime under the domestic violence law.

Parts of the law have also yet to be implemented, including the establishment of family violence units within the Internal Security Forces and the setting up of a fund to assist survivors of domestic violence.

Additionally, many women still struggle to gain access to justice. Not only are there obstacles found within Lebanon’s legal framework and administration of justice, but there are continuing economic, social and cultural barriers for women. These need to be removed, otherwise gender-based violence will remain a pervasive human rights issue throughout Lebanon.

In late 2019, Lebanese women demonstrated to demand laws that protect them adequately against domestic violence amid large discontent over the inadequate legal system that fails to defend women's rights. Lebanon’s domestic violence law was an important first step, but needs to be developed to better protect against domestic violence.


Frontline Services:

 

Sources


[1] The World Bank, (1)

[2] https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/its-time-talk-about-violence-against-women-lebanon

[3] http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The-Economic-Cost-of-Violence-Containment.pdf

[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/domestic-abuse-cases-soar- lebanon-coronavirus-lockdown-200416233054044.html


Further Reading


[1] https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Lebanon-Gender-Violence-Publications.pdf

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/08/lebanese-women-demand-new-rights-amid-political-turmoil

[3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/03/lebanon-domestic-violence-law-good-incomplete

[4] https://www.refworld.org/docid/5b39f1c56.html