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

AuthorThomasberger, Martina
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 violence
The survey gives an overview of a study that was done by the Institute for Family Research
at Vi enna Un iversity in 2011 on the occurrence and prevalence of domestic violence in
Austria. It contains the best data currently available on these topics.
10.1.2 Overview of national acts on violence against women, domestic violence and issues
related to the Istanbul Convention
Austria provides detailed online information about the relevant steps to be taken in cases
of domestic violence: er_familie.
Legislation is contained in the Security Police Act (Sicherheitspolizeigesetz) and in the Civil
Enforcement of Liabilities Act (Exekutionsordnung).
10.1.3 National provisions on online violence and online harassment
New regulations are considered necessary; policy discussions are still ongoing at the time
of writing. The Gove rnment had announced the regulation of a requirement for users of
online discussion boards to register with a personal ID.123
10.1.4 Political and societal debate
The Government has cut back fun ding for specialised NGOs, e.g. for a monitoring project
for acts of online hatred and violence.
10.2 Ratification of the Istanbul Convention
Austria was th e first c ountry in Eu rope to in troduce specific legislation that provided
protection against domestic violence and implemented a system of legal and procedural
protections for women, together with a network of shelters and social support for femal e
victims of domestic abuse. Austria was also one of the first EU Member States to ratify the
Istanbul Convention.
The ratification of the Istanbul Convention did not result in any major changes in the
existing legislation. It did, however, direct some of the focus of the policy debates on
shortcomings in data collection and specific monitoring. The cu rrent Government is not
prioritising further improvements in domestic violence legislation or funding.
Apart from plans for a more con sistent app roach to data gathering and evaluation, the
specific changes t o criminal law in conne ction with the ratification concerned making
sexual harassment a criminal offence.
123 After the cut-off date of this report, the government was voted out by a parliamentary vote of no
confidence before these policies could be made into legislation; elections are scheduled for September

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