Moldova has not signed or ratified the Council of Europe ‘Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence’.
Following amendments made to the Criminal Code in 2011, domestic violence
is a criminal offence.
In addition, domestic violence is addressed under the 2008 Law on Preventing and Combatting Family Violence., , 
The Criminal Code defines domestic violence “any deliberate action or inaction, except actions taken in self-defence or in defence of other persons, whether physical or verbal, that is manifested through physical, sexual, psychological, spiritual or economic abuse or by causing material or moral damage, committed by a family member against other family members, including against minors, or against common or personal property.”.
The Law on Preventing and Combatting Family Violence defines domestic violence as ‘any deliberate action or inaction, except actions taken in self-defence or in defence of other persons, whether physical or verbal, that is manifested through physical, sexual, psychological, spiritual or economic abuse or by causing material or moral damage, committed by a family member against other family members, including against minors, or against common or personal property’.
According to the US Department of State, the Criminal Code of Moldova (article 201) stipulates that the maximum penalties for domestic violence are fifteen years’ imprisonment.
Under the Law on Preventing and Combatting Family Violence, civil and / or criminal protection orders can be issued against perpetrators.
The official CEDAW report states that the Law on Preventing and Combatting Family violence establishes ‘an institutional framework with concrete responsibilities for the competent authorities, [and provides] for establishment of assistance centres for the victims of violence and mechanism of settlement of violence cases’.
The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (hereafter Special Rapporteur) also notes that the Law lays out clear guidance in regard to the respective responsibilities of central and local administration authorities in regard to victims of domestic violence.
According to the Special Rapporteur, who visited Moldova in 2008, domestic violence and the impact that it has on women’s lives does not receive appropriate recognition among state officials or wider society, resulting in insufficient infrastructure to support victims.
The Organization for Social Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Gender Advisor, who visited Moldova in 2011, also noted that the law is poorly implemented in practice. In particular, at the district and community level there is insufficient understanding of the law and the responsibilities that it confers on local state authorities, in terms of providing protection and support to victims of domestic violence. 
There are also issues in regard to enforcement of protection orders. Criminal charges are very rarely brought.
A shadow report to the CEDAW Committee by the Advocates for Human Rights and the Women’s Law Centre makes similar points, as does a report by USAID; both note that failure to allocate funds for services for domestic violence victims has been a serious issue., 
According to the OSCE Gender Advisor, domestic violence is still seen very much as a private matter.
The Advocates for Human Rights report that this acts as a barrier to reporting, as is lack of faith in the police and justice system.
In addition, lack of knowledge that domestic violence is punishable by law also means that few people report it.
According to data from the Ministry of Interior held by the Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) network, 369 cases of domestic violence were registered in 2011, and 222 protection orders were issued. In addition, 4688 people were the subject of ‘police prevention activities’ in regard to domestic violence. 
The Special Rapporteur found that domestic violence cases are not often considered to warrant legal investigation, unless the victim has been seriously injured. Women who do file complaints have to produce medical evidence of the assault: the cost of this, coupled with the fact that few medical staff are trained to deal with domestic assault cases, act as further obstacles to women’s access to justice in domestic violence cases.
In her report, the OSCE Special Representative noted that despite the fact that police are trained on how to deal with domestic violence cases, the treatment that women receive from police and other service providers varies in ‘levels of knowledge, skill, and diligence’, and that police rarely initiate cases.
A shadow report to the CEDAW Committee by the Advocates for Human Rights and the Women’s Law Centre notes that police often blame victims for the violence, or minimise criminal behaviour in domestic violence cases.
is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code (Article 171).
Marital rape is specifically recognised as a criminal offense in Moldova, under Article 2 of the Law on Preventing and Combatting Family Violence, and the Criminal Code (as amended by Law no.167)., , 
Rape is punishable by between three and twenty years’ imprisonment, depending on the nature of the attack, the age of the victim, and the number of perpetrators.
According to a 2011 article in the Equal Rights Review,
prosecution of rape and other crimes of sexual violence focus on the behaviour of the victim, not the aggressor; in particular, according to official guidelines published in 2008, the prosecution must demonstrate that the victim physically resisted the attack. Of particular concern is the fact that in cases of rape and sexual assault committed against an adolescent, the guidelines suggest that where sexual intercourse involves a young person, some sort of physical force may be necessary, given the ‘shyness’ of the teenager. 
As noted above, the Law on Prevention and Combatting Family Violence (which covers marital rape) includes clear guidelines for the responsibilities of local and national level authorities in regard to victims of violence.
The Special Rapporteur notes that sexual violence is less reported than other forms of gender-based violence, partly because victims fear that they will be held responsible, and will face stigmatisation.
In 2010, 323 cases of rape were registered in Moldova (an increase of 32.4% on the previous year).
Data from 2006 shows that 24.6% of women reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetimes 
Elsewhere, the 2005 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) found that 4% of women respondents had experienced sexual violence of some form.
According to a 2011 National Survey entitled “Violence against women in the Family”, 19% of women have suffered from sexual violence at least once over the period of their lifetime.
is covered by the 2006 Law on Equal Opportunities, 
Amendments were made to the Criminal Code in July 2010 to criminalise sexual harassment under Law no.167. 
Amendments made to the Criminal Code in 2011 (under Law no.167) introduced sexual harassment as a crime under Article 173 of the Code.
The 2006 and 2013 laws on equal opportunities cover sexual harassment in the workplace.
The criminal code defines the act of sexual harassment and sets the punishment with monetary penalty, community service (140 to 240 hours) or imprisonment of up to three years. 
According to a 2006 survey reported by USAID, 22% of women questioned said they had experienced sexual harassment at work or at school.
According to a 2011 article published in the Equal Rights Review,
few cases of sexual harassment are reported due to: women’s lack of knowledge of what actually constitutes sexual harassment; lack of knowledge of the legislation in place, and; employers failing to inform their staff about sexual harassment and its consequences.
The 2011 article in the Equal Rights Review
notes that the inclusion of sexual harassment in the Criminal Code is likely to prove unworkable, because of the onus in Moldovan criminal law on the victim to prove that the attack took place.
The 2013 Law on Ensuring Equality stipulates the establishment of the Council for Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Assurance of Equality to oversee implementation of the law, and to hear complaints and impose penalties.
A report by the Council of Europe notes that members of the judiciary currently receive no training in how to deal with any form of violence against women cases.
However, the National Programme on Ensuring of Gender Equality for 2010 – 2015
notes the need to increase public awareness of sexual harassment.
Also, the Programme calls for developing educational programs and methodologies in order to form responsible behaviour among children and the youth.
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Moldova.
In her report, the Special Rapporteur notes that Moldova is considered to be a major source country for women and girls trafficked
abroad for the purposes of forced prostitution, mainly to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Romania, Southeast Europe, the Middle East, and the European Union. In 2005, a new Law on preventing and combating trafficking was introduced. However, the law is poorly implemented, and trafficking remains a serious problem. Men and children are also trafficked abroad for forced labour. According to the Special Rapporteur, women trafficked abroad or who migrate illegally are very vulnerable to torture and extreme forms of degrading treatment in countries of destination, and face stigmatization upon return to the Republic of Moldova. Victims of trafficking often withdraw from participating in criminal investigations, either as a result of pressure from traffickers, or because of the insensitive way that they are dealt with by the police. Children left behind with friends or relatives when their parents migrate for work – or with the father when only the mother has migrated – are at risk of being trafficked or abused in other ways themselves. In her report, the Special Rapporteur states that allegations of corruption among public officials are a major constraint to combating trafficking. 
is available on demand in Moldova.
 Council of Europe Treaty Office (2013)  Law no. 167, amending Criminal Code  Law no.45  CEDAW (2011), p.14  Law no. 45-XVI on prevention and combating of family violence Advocates for Human Rights / Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation / Women’s Law Center (2012)  Law on Preventing and Combatting Family Violence, Article 2  US Department of State (2013)  WAVE (2011)  CEDAW (2011), p.14  Human Rights Council (2009), p.16  Human Rights Council (2009), p.2  Patten, Wendy (2011)  Patten, Wendy (2011), p.3, 4  Advocates for Human Rights / Women’s Law Center (2013)  Cozzarelli, Catherine (2011), p.19  Patten, Wendy (2011), p.3  Advocates for Human Rights (2011)  Cozzarelli, Catherine (2011), p.19  WAVE (2011)  Human Rights Council (2009), p.9, 20  Patten, Wendy (2011), p.3  Advocates for Human Rights / Women’s Law Center (2013), p.5  Council of Europe (2009), p.7  Human Rights Council (2009), p.16  CEDAW (2011), p.14  Manole, Olga (2011), p.36-37  Criminal Code, Article 171  Manole, Olga (2011), p.40  Human Rights Council (2009), p.16  Human Rights Council (2009), p.9  Manole, Olga (2011), p.36  OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database, http://stats.oecd.org  Cozzarelli, Catherine (2011), p.18  UN Moldova (2011), p. 10  Law on Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2006, Article 2  Law on Ensuring Equality, 2012, Article 7  Manole. O (2011), p. 39  Manole, Olga (2011), p.40  Law on Ensuring Equality, 2012, Article 11  Criminal Code, Article 152  Cozzarelli, Catherine (2011), p.15  Manole, Olga (2011), p.40  Manole, Olga (2011), p.40  Law on Ensuring Equality, 2012, Articles 11, 12  Hagemann-White, Carol (2010), p.52  Government of the Republic of Moldova (2009)  National Programme on Ensuring of Gender Equality for 2010 – 2015  Human Rights Council (2009), p.8, 11-12, 17, 19, 21  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013)