Albanian custody laws fails to include provisions to protect and empower victims of domestic violence according to the Group of Experts on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) report for 2021.
The organization’s third report since its inception focused on issues pertaining to custody law, visitation rights, and domestic violence, finding that many countries lack enough protection for children and domestic violence victims who seek to leave their abusers.
“Women victims of domestic violence who leave their abusers often are confronted with threats of harm to their children… and an alarming rate of homicides of both women and child victims… are reported regularly in the media across Europe,” the report notes.
Albania suffers from a high rate of domestic and gender-based violence with one in three women reporting it at least once in their lives, compared to the EU average of one in four.
Twenty women were murdered in Albanian in 2021, while six women have lost their lives to men so far in 2022.
The GREVIO report also highlighted that most member countries fail to provide age-specific care and protection, or include provisions that take into account evidence of domestic violence when assigning custody or visitation rights.
“In Albania, Belgium, Italy, Monaco, Poland, San Marino, and Slovenia, GREVIO found no explicit reference to domestic violence as a legal criterion to be considered when deciding on custody and/or and visitation rights,” according to the report.
The report also noted that “States tend to give priority to maintain contact with both parents at all costs, regardless of witnessed violence.”
In these cases, the parental alienation defense is used to “undermine the views of child victims of domestic violence who fear contact with domestic abuse perpetrators, despite obvious risks for both adult and child victims.”
The group also issued its first general recommendation, urging states to focus on focusing on violence against women enacted in the digital sphere.
In Albania, a recent analysis by BIRN showed hundreds of cases where victims of sexual abuse are identified, or domestic violence is justified.