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Tajikistan Opens Police Stations Dealing With Domestic Violence

OSCE representative Ivar Vikki (right) meets with Tajik Interior Minister Abdurahim Qahhorov on August 20.
DUSHANBE -- Five special police stations that will assist victims of domestic violence have opened in Dushanbe and other Tajik towns, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The facilities are the first of their kind in post-Soviet Central Asia.

Interior Minister General Abdurahim Qahhorov, who took part in the August 19 opening ceremony in Dushanbe, said Tajiks traditionally do not report family disputes to police.

He said that was why special police stations for working with victims of domestic violence were being opened. Qahhorov said victims, especially women, were encouraged to report instances of violence.

Each special unit is staffed by officers, including at least one female inspector, who attended a June course organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) office in Dushanbe on investigating and responding to cases of domestic violence.

Ivar Vikki, who heads that office, said that opening the stations showed Tajikistan's commitment to treat domestic violence as a crime and to support victims. He noted that the OSCE, which sponsored the opening of the stations, encouraged the authorities to support law enforcement further by passing a law on domestic violence, which has been pending since 2007.

According to official statistics, during the first six months of 2010 Tajik police registered at least 400 crimes related to domestic violence. The Interior Ministry monitors some 2,000 families with a record of domestic violence.