Interdisciplinary training focused on the protection of victims of domestic and gender-based violence and the amendments to the Protection against Domestic Violence Act

29 judges and prosecutors from the regional and district level took part in the training organized by the National Institute of Justice in mixed format on “Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. Psychological aspects. International Standards for the Protection of Victims of Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and the Amendments to the Protection against Domestic Violence Act (PADVA) in the Context of the Standards”.

The training event was held on 19 March 2024 at the Metropolitan Hotel, Sofia, under the guidance of a multidisciplinary team of renowned Bulgarian and international experts and was aimed at increasing the competence of Bulgarian magistrates to provide effective protection from the above-mentioned types of violence and familiarizing them with the latest amendments to the civil law framework in this field at the national level.

Shazia Choudhry, Professor of Law at the University of Oxford and author of a number of publications on these issues, provided a systematic overview of the main UN and Council of Europe legal instruments to prevent and combat violence against women. Prof. Choudhry focused on established international and European standards for protection against VAW under civil law, which were presented in light of key developments in the jurisprudence of the CEDAW Committee and the ECtHR.

Judge Galya Valkova from the Sofia City Court examined the applicability of international standards for the protection of victims of domestic and gender-based violence in cases handled under the PADVA. In her practical presentation, she gave an analytical overview of the amendments to the PADVA (promulgated in SG No. 66 of 2023, in force since 01.01.2024, supplemented by SG No. 69 of 2023) in the context of the standards established at the international level and further developed in the practice of the CEDAW Committee, the ECtHR and national courts.

Diyana Videva, PhD in psychology and member of the Managing Board of Demetra Association, introduced the participants to the psychological aspects of these types of violence, the specific vulnerability of the victims and the need to apply a victim-centered approach to effectively protect their rights. She also shared with the participants her extensive practical experience in implementing specialized programs for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

The training event was organized under the project “Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence”, implemented with the support of the Justice Programme of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, Contract № BGJUSTICE-4.001-0002/12.02.20.

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