Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Istanbul Convention

AuthorIustina Ionescu
10 Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Istanbul
10.1 General (legal) context
10.1.1 Surveys and reports on issues of violence against women and domestic viol ence
A report published in July 2017 on protection orders between 2012 and 2016 found in the
field of gender equality that victims of domestic violence are mostly women and victims of
sexual violence within the family are mostly girls.195 Moreover, according to the study,
female applicants benefit from a higher percentage of protection orders issued after
shorter periods of trial and shorter lengths of appeal, if needed. Even if the differences are
small, it remains an important aspect that can correlate with the types of violence by which
women are most affected: physical and sexual violence. The study also found that the
protection order does not cover the first 10 to 14 days after the victim decides to lea ve
the violent relationship, the period with the highest risk of recidivism (repeated violent
behaviour by the aggressor in more serious forms). Sources of data on domestic violence
are not harmonised. Institutions such as the Public Ministry (Ministerul Public) or the
Ministry of Health (Ministerul Sntii) may not collect detailed and disaggregated data
on this issue. Therefore, in orde r to respond to certain items in the GREV IO (the Council
of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic
Violence) questionnaire, it is necessary to compare the data from different sources. It will
be necessary to standardise the data collection criteria.
10.1.2 Overview of national acts on violence against women, domestic violence and issues
related to the Istanbul Convention
The main law on domestic violence is Law No. 217/2003 regarding preventing and
combating violence in the family. It contains the definitions of gender-based violence, the
mandate of various institutions involved and civil measures to protect the victims of
violence, such as the protection order. After the ratification of the Istanbul Convention the
above-mentioned law was significantly improved, includ ing by introducing the temporary
protection order. At t he same time, th e Criminal Code contains the traditio nal definitions
of criminal offences such as rape and violence against a family member.
10.1.3 National provisions on online violence and online harassment
There is no explicit regulation of online violence and online harassment of women and
girls. The criminal offence of harassment has a less serious penalty applicable when the
communication causing fear to any person, not only to women, takes place through
electronic means of communication (Article 208(2) of the Criminal Code). Online violence
does not exist as a concept in criminal law in Romania.
10.1.4 Political and societal debate
The societal debate taking place on this topic focuses on the prevalence of domestic
violence in Romania and the ineffectiveness of the state’s measures of protection for
victims of domestic violence. This is especially in cases where the authorities kn ow about
the history of violence against women who are later killed by their aggressors.196 Fo r
195 Reeaua pentru prevenirea şi combaterea violenei împotriva femeilor (Network for preventing and
combating violence against women) (2017), Exploratory study on the implementation of the protection
order and the domestic violence provisions of the Criminal Code of Romania in 2012 2016, available at:
196 DOR, Sandu, O. (2019) Soluii împotriva violenei: ordinul de protecie (Solutions against violence:
protection order’), 16.3.2019, available at:

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