In late 2010, the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence was passed by the Azerbaijani parliament.,  This is a civil law, but Article 7 states that in cases of domestic violence, a criminal investigation (and prosecution, if appropriate) is to be conducted in parallel to the implementation of the provisions included in the Law to support and protect victims.
The Law provides a comprehensive definition of domestic violence that covers physical, psychological, and sexual violence.
Under the Law ‘On prevention of domestic violence’, victims can apply to the court for short term and long term protection orders, which ban the perpetrator from any contact with the victim. Non-compliance with a protection order can result in criminal prosecution, although the criminal penalties in such cases are not defined.
The 2010 Law includes a comprehensive mechanism to oversee the implementation of the law, laying out the responsibilities of police, the courts, and other official bodies.
However, the 2012 European Commission Neighbourhood Policy report on Azerbaijan notes that in fact, mechanisms are not in place for the effective implementation of the law.
According to a 2007 report by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a large scale survey on attitudes to gender issues in Azerbaijan found that throughout Azerbaijani society, many consider domestic violence to be a private matter that should be resolved within the family.
A more recent article published by the Åland Islands Peace Institute indicates that such attitudes are still prevalent, with the effect that women rarely report cases of domestic violence, and are even reluctant to discuss what has happened to them with their own family and close friends. Under-reporting is exacerbated, the article’s author notes, by the lack of support services available to women who want to leave abusive relationships, particularly in rural areas.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty report that domestic violence is an ignored social problem in Azerbaijan, and that overall, gender-based violence remains a taboo issue, while in its Concluding Observations, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee expressed its concern that domestic violence and other forms of gender-based abuse appear ‘at times to be socially legitimized by a culture of silence and impunity’. , 
At present, no data on conviction rates appears to be available. However, a 2012 media report notes that the Azerbaijani State Committee for Family, Women and Children has begun collecting data on cases of domestic violence, which will include information on: applications to state authorities in cases involving domestic violence; cases investigated; the number of persons held liable in connection with domestic violence cases, and; court decisions. This information will be held in a national-level electronic database.
According to a recent article on gender-based violence in Azerbaijan, police are rarely sympathetic towards women who are trying to register cases of domestic violence, often blaming them for bringing the violence on themselves.
is a criminal offence under Azerbaijan’s 2000 Criminal Code.
The law specifically mentions rape and sexual assault during conflict as being criminal offences.
The Criminal Code makes no specific reference to spousal rape.
A 2012 article on gender-based violence in Azerbaijan published by the Åland Islands Peace Institute states that few people in Azerbaijan recognise spousal rape as a crime, and that talking about sexual violence between spouses is considered to be very shameful.
There are no clauses in the Criminal Code to allow a rapist to escape prosecution by marrying his victim.
Rape is punishable by between four and fifteen years’ imprisonment, depending on the age of the victim and the level of violence involved in the attack.
The article published by the Åland Islands Peace Institute states that prosecutions in rape cases are rare, due to gender norms that stigmatise rape victims, as well as high levels of corruption within the police force.
The US Department of State Human Rights report for Azerbaijan notes that in 2012, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that 19 people were convicted of rape.
There appears to be considerable social stigma attached to rape, with the perception that they are ‘soiled’ or ‘dishonoured’.
Therefore, very few victims are willing to report the crime.
The Åland Islands Peace Institute reports that women often have little faith that law enforcement bodies will offer them protection and adequate assistance in cases of rape and sexual violence. Indeed, the article notes that few police officers have received any training in how to deal with cases of rape sensitively, and that there are no specialised departments within the police service to deal with cases of sexual violence.
While there is no specific law addressing sexual harassment
according to the official CEDAW report, the issue is addressed under amendments to the country’s Labour Code.
The provisions in the Labour Code only cover sexual harassment in the workplace.
It appears that sexual harassment is not widely reported. The 2007 UNDP report on attitudes to gender issues found that research participants were reluctant to talk about sexual harassment, and also, that many felt that any women reporting sexual harassment would be at risk of losing her job. 
In a 2007 UNDP survey of attitudes around gender issues, most respondents stated that in the case of sexual harassment, the woman was partly – if not wholly – to blame.
According to the 2013 Amnesty International annual report, sexual harassment appears to have been used as a tool to discourage dissent. The report notes that in 2012, a well-known female Azerbaijani reporter working for Radio Free Europe received a threatening letter containing intimate photographs of her. The letter threatened to ‘shame’ her if she did not discontinue her work. When the journalist publicly exposed this attempt to threaten her, a video showing her in an intimate relationship was posted on the internet.
Human Rights Watch notes that it is unknown who attempted to blackmail the journalist, but the threats seemed to have been in retaliation for her investigation into the business holdings of the president’s family and close associates.
There is no evidence to indicate that female genital mutilation is practised in Azerbaijan.
The 2007 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on attitudes to gender issues also points to the fact that women who were victims of sexual violence during the conflict
with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh continue to suffer physical and psychological trauma.
There have also been documented cases of abduction
for forced marriage in Azerbaijan.
In 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women expressed concern about the trafficking of women
, for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.
is available on demand in Azerbaijan.
 UN Women (2011)  The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan ‘On prevention of domestic violence, 2010  The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan ‘On prevention of domestic violence, 2010. Article 7  The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan ‘On prevention of domestic violence, 2010. Article 7  The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan ‘On prevention of domestic violence, 2010. Article 10  The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan ‘On prevention of domestic violence, 2010  European Commission High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (2013)  UNDP (2007), p. 67  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  Powley Hayden, Jessica (2009)  CEDAW (2009), p. 5  Zarbalieyeva, K. (2012)  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, 2000. Article 108  Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, 2000. Articles 116  Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, 2000  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, 2000  Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, 2000. Articles 108 and 149  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  US Department of State (2013)  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  Isakova, Gunel (2012)  CEDAW (2008), p. 27  CEDAW (2008), p. 27  UNDP (2007), p. 71  UNDP (2007), p. 71  Amnesty International (2013), p. 29  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 399  UNDP (2007), p. 51  Thomas, Cheryl (2009), p.7  OHCHR (2013)  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013)