Women’s Knowledge of the Domestic Violence Legislation in Erbil, Iraq and their Response to Spousal Violence
This study assessed the knowledge of 82 married women about existing legislations and law enforcement structure in Iraqi Kurdistan region to combat violence against women and women’s response to spousal violence. A female physician interviewed the participants using a specially designed questionnaire. The women possessed good knowledge about the presence of legislation (76.8 %) and related law enforcement structure (70.7 % to 74.4 %) to combat violence against women, but they lacked adequate knowledge about how to contact the law enforcement agencies. Women’s response to spousal violence primarily included self-defense (37.8 %) or keeping silent (26.8 %), rather than seeking justice (4.9 %). Women’s educational status was positively associated with reporting violence to police (52.1 % vs 29.4 %, p = 0.041) and the health staff (62.5 % vs 35.3 %, p = 0.015). Further research is needed to explore the reasons behind women’s poor knowledge of the details of the existing law enforcement structure and women’s reluctance to seek justice.