There is no law criminalising domestic violence
in Bulgaria., 
However, the 2005 Law on Protection against Domestic Violence allows courts to impose civil protection orders in cases of domestic violence, and in some cases, domestic violence cases have been prosecuted under the Criminal Code.
In addition, amendments made to the Act in 2010 include criminal penalties for those violating the terms of a protection order.
The Law on Protection against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as ‘any act of physical, mental and sexual violence as well as any attempt of such violence, coercive restriction of personal liberty and privacy, committed against persons who are or who have been in a family relationship or kinship, in a de facto co-habitation, or who reside in one and the same dwelling’.
In 2010, amendments to the Law widened the definition of domestic violence to include emotional and economic violence. 
Under the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, protection orders of between 3 and 18 months can be imposed; these include temporary allocation of custody of any children to the victim, and the requirement that the perpetrator attend specialised counselling to address their violent behaviour., 
The US Department of State Human Rights Report for 2012 states that violation of a protection order can result in up to three years’ imprisonment, or a fine.
Amendments to the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence made in 2010 included the requirement that each year, a National Programme for Prevention and Protection against Domestic Violence would be adopted. A recent report mentions that the Bulgarian authorities work together with the national human rights institutions, relevant non-governmental organizations and the media to carry out regular public campaigns and initiatives aimed at raising the general awareness of domestic violence and about the existing protection procedures. Such activities are regularly included in the annual National Programmes for Prevention and Protection against Domestic Violence funded by the State budget.
In addition, starting in 2013, a 2 million euro Norway Grants programme will address domestic and gender-based violence in Bulgaria through supporting the creation of a strong legal framework which ensures the protection of victims and enhances the capacity of professionals and relevant institutions in dealing with cases of such violence.
The Gender Alternatives Foundation argues that domestic violence is treated as a private matter in Bulgaria, and that protecting ‘family integrity’ is seen as more important than helping women who are affected. This, and the considerable barriers that women face when they try to bring cases of domestic violence, mean that it is rarely reported.
Elsewhere, a media report notes that fear of stigma and retaliation also stop women from reporting violence, or make them more likely to seek help from friends or relatives than from the police.
According to the Women Against Violence Europe network, 1287 applications for civil protection orders were made in 2010, of which 480 were granted. 
The Gender Alternatives Foundation notes a general lack of data on domestic violence prevalence and conviction rates.
The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation states that although domestic violence cases can be brought under the Criminal Code, this rarely happens. For instance, the Prosecutor’s Office in Sofia routinely redirects domestic violence cases to the Family Court, on the grounds that these are ‘family’ matters. In addition, Protection Orders are granted in cases where a criminal prosecution would be more appropriate. Cases are often investigated as one-off incidents, failing to take into account previous acts of violence and abuse.
According to the Gender Alternatives Foundation, the criminal justice system as a whole does not take domestic violence and the harm that it brings seriously, dismissing cases of domestic violence as ‘family’ or ‘private’ matters.
Police often underestimate the danger that a woman may be in, and fail to provide information on what legal options and support services may be available to her.
is a criminal offence under Article 152 of the Criminal Code.
The definition of rape does not specifically include spousal rape., 
In cases of consensual sex with a minor under the age 14, i.e. statutory rape, the perpetrator can escape criminal prosecution by marrying the minor. This is also true in cases were the victim has been coerced into having sex as a result of material or official dependency on the perpetrator.
In its Concluding Observations, the CEDAW Committee urged the Bulgarian government to repeal this article of the Criminal Code.
The penalties for rape are between two and eight years imprisonment, rising to up to ten years if the victim is under the age of 16, in cases of incest, or if it is a second offence.
According to the Advocates for Human Rights, the laws on rape are inadequately implemented in practice, with prosecutors only willing to pursue cases where there is evidence that the victim has fought back against the attacker.
According to the US State Department Human Rights Report, in the first nine months of 2012, the prosecution service filed 200 cases of rape and pursued 58 prosecutions, and the court sentenced 87 perpetrators.
There is no institution in Bulgaria that deals with data on victims of rape. A 2011 Study by Alpha Research Agency reveals that 4% of women in Bulgaria claim to have been ‘raped at some point in their life’ and they are often too scared to report these cases of rape.
The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation notes that as with cases of sexual harassment, victims of sexual violence are often stereotyped and further victimised by the judicial system. , 
However, several cases of sexual harassment have been brought by women before the national courts Commission for Protection against Discrimination recently, which has helped to increase public awareness.
is addressed under the Law on Protection against Discrimination.
In theory, it is also possible to prosecute severe sexual harassment cases (involving coercing someone into sexual intercourse through exploiting a situation of material or official dependence) under the Criminal Code;
however, a report by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation notes that no cases of sexual harassment have been brought under the Criminal Code. 
The Law on Protection Against Discrimination covers sexual harassment in the workplace and in higher education institutions.
It defines sexual harassment as ‘any unwanted conduct of sexual character expressed physically, verbally or in any other manner, which violates the dignity or honour or creates hostile, degrading, humiliating or intimidating environment and, in particular when the refusal to accept such conduct or the compulsion thereto could influence the taking of decisions, affecting the person’.
The Law on Protection against Discrimination states that employers and directors of education institutions should impose sanctions and act to ensure the harassment is not repeated.
Perpetrators of sexual harassment shall be fined by at least 250 to 2,000 BGN, according to article 78, paragraph 1 of the same law. The Criminal Code includes penalties of up to three years imprisonment for cases of severe sexual harassment,
but as mentioned above, no criminal prosecutions have ever been made for sexual harassment.
A shadow report submitted by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation to The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)Committee in 2012 notes that women rarely report sexual harassment, because they fear losing their jobs and / or being blamed for having brought the harassment on themselves. The negative attitudes of those within the judiciary, as well as the length of time it takes to bring a case, were also cited as reasons for women being reluctant to bring cases of sexual harassment.
The report goes on to note that the law in regard to sexual harassment is poorly implemented in practice, and does not provide effective protection for women experiencing sexual harassment.
The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation states that there is no effective mechanism in place to support women in making complaints of sexual harassment, or in accessing legal and counselling support services, and there are no incentives for employers to take effective measures against sexual harassment in the workplace.
A second CEDAW shadow report, by the Gender Alternatives Foundation, notes that the state Commission for Protection against Discrimination should have responsibility for investigating cases of sexual harassment, but that this commission does not have the legal expertise necessary to successfully pursue cases, and is under-resourced.
The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation report points to the stereotyping and victimisation of women by the judiciary in sexual harassment cases, indicating that the justice system has not been sensitised on the law.
The report by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation observes that sexual harassment is widely tolerated in Bulgarian workplaces, and often considered as a joke. The report notes that research conducted in 2011 found that 56.6% of women questioned had experienced some form of sexual harassment or violence in public spaces, and 47.9% had experienced this in the workplace. The same report also draws attention to sexual harassment being a significant problem in the health sector.
According to the 2011 report by Alpha Research Agency also the workplace was identified as the third place where women are subjected to sexual violence.
Survey data reported in the CEDAW shadow report by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation indicates that 54% of women questioned perceived sexual violence as a serious problem, and a further 35% saw it as a rather serious problem.
The report also notes that victims are often told that they are to blame for the assault. 
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Bulgaria.
‘Honour’ crimes primarily affect girls and women in some Roma communities, Turkish communities, and communities located in very remote rural areas, as well as women and girls from some migrant groups.
is available on demand in Bulgaria.
 Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 14  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012) p. 22, 26  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 14  WAVE (2011)  CEDAW (2011), p. 58  CEDAW (2011), p. 59  WAVE (2011)  World Bank (201), p. 312  US Department of State (2012)  UN Human Rights Council (2012) Norway grants (2013)  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012), p. 27  Sophia Echo (2010)  Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) (2011)  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012), p. 28  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), pp. 13-14  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012), p. 27  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012), p. 27, 30  Advocates for Human Rights (2011)  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012), p. 10  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 14  Criminal Code of Bulgaria, Article 158  CEDAW (2012), p. 6  Advocates for Human Rights (2011)  Advocates for Human Rights (2011)  US Department of State (2012)  The Sofia Echo (2011),  Advocates for Human Rights (2011)  ulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 18  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012)  Protection against Discrimination Act, 2004 (promulgated in the State Gazette No. 86/2003, last amended State Gazette No. 42 of 5 June 2009), Article 5  Criminal Code of Bulgaria, Article 153  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 19  Protection against Discrimination Act, 2004 (promulgated in the State Gazette No. 86/2003, last amended State Gazette No. 42 of 5 June 2009), Articles 17, 31  Protection against Discrimination Act, 2004 (promulgated in the State Gazette No. 86/2003, last amended State Gazette No. 42 of 5 June 2009), Additional Provisions  Protection against Discrimination Act, 2004 (promulgated in the State Gazette No. 86/2003, last amended State Gazette No. 42 of 5 June 2009), Articles 17, 31  Criminal Code of Bulgaria, Article 153  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 17-19  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 17-18  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 17-18  Gender Alternatives Foundation (2012), p. 16  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 7-18  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 17-18  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 17  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 5  Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (2012), p. 18  Prohaska, Maria (2012), p. 4, 6  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013)