New data shows domestic and sexual violence rising in Czechia

Although a disconcerting trend, this may be a reflection of more victims coming forward and improved police competence in dealing with cases.


Written by ČTK Published on 24.08.2023 16:50:00 (updated on 24.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Government statistics released today reveal a notable uptick in cases of domestic and sexual violence in the first half of 2023. The backdrop for this revelation was today’s unveiling of the "Action Plan for Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention" for the years 2023 to 2026.

Higher levels of abuse, rape, murder

In the whole of 2022, the police had documented 430 cases of physical abuse within shared households. However, in the first six months of 2023 alone, this number already reached 274. Notably, there has also been a surge in cases of rapes and murders driven by personal relationships where the abuser knows the victim well. In terms of rape, full-year 2022 saw 880 reported cases, while in the first half of this year, the police have documented 535 rapes.

Alarming trends also extend to instances of murders within personal relationships, with 42 cases reported in the first half of this year alone. Marvánová Vargová, Chairwoman of the Committee for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Violence against Women, noted the rise in cases where the aggressor takes their own life after committing violence against women and children.

Just how many cases are reported?

Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková, the Government Commissioner for Human Rights, cautioned that these reported cases likely represent only a fraction of the actual instances, implying that the issue is far more extensive.

Experts in the field estimate that merely one in five cases of severe domestic violence and one in 20 cases of rape are reported, underscoring the prevalence of underreporting in such cases.

Notably, despite the increased reporting of rapes since 2021, it is suggested that this might reflect growing confidence in the effectiveness – and competence – of law enforcement and the judicial system, rather than a surge in the actual occurrence of such crimes. This could also be tied to a greater willingness to report rape cases.

The shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns still lingers, as Vargová acknowledged this week. This is because couples would spend more time indoors together, effectively entrapping abuse victims.

While cases of abuse and dangerous stalking have seen a decrease since 2011, the government's recently approved action plan focuses on the vital aspects of prevention and improving support services for both victims and perpetrators of violence. However, the plan's effectiveness might be hindered by the absence of assured, permanent funding for the proposed services – a concern highlighted by experts in the field.

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