Unless Blood Flows

Lack of protection from domestic violence in Hungary


Date of publication:  01 Nov 2013 Authors:  Lydia Gall Publisher:  Human Rights Watch Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

Efforts to combat domestic violence in Hungary face serious obstacles including a general lack of understanding at all levels of society of the dynamics of domestic violence and how best to respond to it; traditional views of women and their roles in Hungarian society; and a far too frequent acceptance, including by women themselves, that violence against women is inevitable. Furthermore, there are important gaps in Hungary’s legal and policy framework for responding to domestic violence. Until July 2013, domestic violence was not even a specific criminal offense. Domestic violence was dealt with like other violence, categorized on the basis of the severity of the injuries, with attacks that resulted in wounds that heal within eight days deemed minor, and requiring the victim rather than police or prosecutors to initiate legal action. The new domestic violence offense introduced in July 2013 provides for stiffer penalties for assaults that take place in the context of domestic situations, and places responsibility to take criminal action against the perpetrator on the prosecutor rather than the victim. There is no comprehensive national strategy or policy on how to combat domestic violence. While there are guidelines for police on domestic violence, there are no comparable guidelines for prosecutors, judges, and health and social workers. Besides the legal gaps, the limited provisions that do exist are not sufficiently implemented or respected. Based on the findings of the report, Human Rights Watch drafted a set of recommendations to the Hungarian authorities.

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