In 2011, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered V.P.P v. Bulgaria (C/53/D/31/2011). V.P.P., a minor, was sexually assaulted by B.G., an adult man who lived in a neighbouring apartment building. Bulgarian authorities waited two years before indicting B.G. for “sexual molestation of a minor”. The District Court approved a plea bargain agreement that B.G. receive a three-year suspended sentence for pleading guilty. B.G. continued to live next door to V.P.P. following the assault and no action was taken to ensure the ongoing safety of V.P.P.
The District Court rejected a request to file a civil claim for moral damages and a separate successful tort suit for 15,000 euros could not be executed with the mechanisms available under Bulgarian law.
S.V.P. submitted a communication under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Optional Protocol) on behalf of her daughter claiming that Bulgaria had violated articles 1, 2(a)-2(c), 2(e)-2(g), 3, 5, 12 and 15 of CEDAW. She claimed that Bulgaria had failed to:
- act with due diligence to protect V.P.P. against sexual assault;
- provide an effective remedy and address the health, rehabilitative and other needs of V.P.P.;
- provide V.P.P. ongoing protection from B.G.; and
- introduce specific legal and policy measures and health services to address violence against women and girls.
- S.V.P. also claimed that Bulgaria’s response to her daughter’s assault reflected gender stereotypes related to violence against women and girls.