New domestic violence law could go into effect in Czechia as early as 2024

The bill creates a stronger legal framework for defining the crime in an effort to more effectively help victims.


Written by ČTK Published on 09.05.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 09.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A proposed new bill aims to unify the efforts of courts, police, and child social and legal protection authorities to help domestic violence victims, Czech government human rights commissioner Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková told reporters today. Laurenčíková presented the draft legislation with Branislava Marvánová-Vargová, who heads the Information and Counseling Center of the non-profit organization ROSA.

The bill would create a stronger legislative framework for dealing with domestic violence, whose clear definition is currently lacking in Czech domestic-violence laws to date, Šimáčková Laurenčíková said.

"The term domestic violence is explicitly mentioned in eight key laws. However, no law defines it," she said. "Domestic violence is a persistent and serious problem in our society," the commissioner said, adding that it is the most widespread form of violence ever.

The bill will undergo the commenting phase in the coming days and then be presented for government debate. If passed, it should take effect in July 2024, said Šimáčková Laurenčíková.

The draft legislation describes domestic violence as "conduct towards the victim which has unjustifiably infringed or is likely to infringe on the person's mental or physical integrity, freedom and dignity, especially in the sexual sphere, respectability, honor and privacy."

Domestic violence also includes interference with the victim's ability to meet his or her needs and abuse of power and unequal status.

"The lack of a legislative definition leads to a fragmentation of understanding and interpretation of domestic violence by the key bodies, police, the child social and legal protection authorities, courts, the aiding medical and non-medical professions, schools and administrative authorities," Šimáčková Laurenčíková said.

She said as a consequence of this inconsistent approach victims aren't given effective help fast enough.

The bill also contains an amendment to the Civil Code, under which courts will have to take into account possible domestic violence when deciding on child custody and on the division of the spouses' joint property during divorce proceedings.

A new amendment to the Rules of Civil Procedure will prohibit mediation in divorce proceedings involving domestic violence. The amendment also requires staff from child social and legal protection authorities to suggest the appointment of a proxy in criminal proceedings where a child is the victim of a crime.

The draft proposal includes several amendments to the law on domestic violence. One amendment extends the eviction period from the common household in cases of domestic violence from 10 to 14 days and requires the police to confiscate firearms from the evicted person.

Another amendment allows victims of minor offenses involving domestic violence to be accompanied by a confidant and protected from further contact with the violent perpetrator.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has criticized Czechia for its weak policies on domestic and sexual violence with other member countries calling on the nation to extend its definition of rape and also ratify the Istanbul Convention.

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