Nationwide Survey on Domestic Violence in Kazakhstan Publishes Results

A large-scale statistical analysis on domestic violence in Kazakhstan was conducted by three professors from Karaganda Medical University: Saule Musabekova, Ksenia Mkhitaryan and Hamida Abdukadirova. The study, conducted between 2019 and 2022, covered 14,342 women between the ages of 18 and 75 from 14 regions of Kazakhstan.

The questionnaire included questions about health, children, partners, violence and its consequences, financial independence, and cases of sexual abuse in childhood.

The study showed that the main victims of domestic violence in Kazakhstan are women (more than 77.9%). Next on the list are children (17.52%), elderly people (3.5%) and men (less than 1.1%). It is important to note that not all victims seek help from the police or hospitals. Therefore, there may be many more victims.

According to the results of the study, the most vulnerable age group is women from 40 to 49 years (41.46%) and from 30 to 39 years (37.80%).

Victims of domestic violence were most often unemployed women or those with low levels of education, with two or more children, and economically dependent on their husbands. Most of the victims of violence were from urban areas (63%).

It was also found that violence against women is committed by strangers in only 12.2% of cases. In 87.8% it is committed by men with whom the victims are in a close relationship. Almost all of them are intimate partners of the victims (in 95-98% of cases). Half of the women interviewed stated that their intimate partners had attacked them while they were pregnant or raising young children.

The forms of systematic violence varied. The most common were physical violence, experienced by 78% of respondents; psychological violence, experienced by 21% of respondents; sexual and physical violence, 16%; economic violence, 7%; and regular sexual violence, 6% of respondents. More than half of the respondents (57%) also stated that over the past year they have faced one of the above forms of abusive behavior more than once (from 2 to 8 times).

Almost all cases of violence against women (98.2%) occurred when the abuser was intoxicated. Other factors cited by female researchers were economic problems and male unemployment.

Incidents of violence most often occurred at home in the evening and at night (91%). Two-thirds of women (66%) said they had suffered at least one injury after partner violence.

The study also took into account physical and sexual abuse of women by men with whom they were not in an intimate relationship. In 92%, the abusers were family members, friends and coworkers, and only 8% were unknown men.

The researchers noted that Kazakhstan only formally supports the main international commitments to gender equality. Domestic violence and general tolerance to it persist in the country.

“Gender roles and cultural norms are clearly expressed in some regions of Kazakhstan: in the south of the country, educated women often do not look for work outside the home because of the priority of domestic duties, and attempts to restrict women in their choice of occupation are quite common. Thus, cultural traditions support the idea that problems of domestic violence should be solved within the family. Because of this, women may not seek help and keep silent about abusive behavior,” the authors of the study believe.

In April Kazakhstan’s president Kasym-Jomart Tokayev signed a law to protect women and children from domestic violence.


Times of Central Asia

Askar Alimzhanov graduated from the journalism department of the Kazakh State University named after S. Kirov, then worked as a correspondent for the daily republican newspaper Leninskaya Smen. He then moved to the United States to be a reporter for the daily newspaper "Cape Cod Times" in Hayanis, Massachusetts, (USA) under the journalist exchange program between the Union of Journalists of the USSR and the New England Society of News Editors. Since then, he has helped build transparency and understanding of Central Asia region in various executive level positions at esteemed media organizations including "Akbar"(Alma-Ata) international center for journalism, the Khabar News agency, the Television and Radio Corporation "Kazakhstan" JSC, and MIR- Kazakhstan.

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