A damning report released on Sunday by the United Nations says that very few women turn to the Afghan courts after they fall victim to domestic violence, as they want to avoid perceived corruption, abuses of power, and lengthy proceedings. Many women prefer mediation with their abusers outside of the courts, as they seek to secure a violence-free environment or custody for their children, rather than punishment. Because of a lack of follow-up with perpetrators, however, this often results in continued violence. The report was intended to investigate the effectiveness of the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Act, a law that for the first time provided legal protection to women abused by relatives. It found that while NGOs are providing shelter to survivors of domestic violence, very few long-term solutions are offered. Among other recommendations, the UN suggests allowing women to obtain restraining orders, and installing laws which would regulate custody and child support. “Unless these concerns are duly and quickly addressed, women survivors of violence remain in extremely vulnerable positions, with few options available to escape from abusive situations,” the report concluded.
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