Victims of domestic violence
What is domestic violence?

This concept refers to economic, physical, psychological, sexual and social violence between partners that occurs in private, is repeated, and has an escalating tendency. It includes all violence that takes place behind closed doors. It can be aimed not just at partners or spouses, but also at children, elderly people, and people living with disabilities. Domestic violence occurs in cases where there is a power imbalance between the individuals involved.

The definitive, typical signs of domestic violence especially include the following:

The private domain as the scene of the crime ‒ domestic violence is specific in that it occurs behind closed doors. That is one reason it remains secret (frequently even for many years), and also is the reason other people do not take much interest in it, as they consider such matters to be private.

Repetition and escalation ‒ domestic violence is not usually a one-time matter, but is characterized by the repeated harming of the victim. Such violence does not necessarily occur in the relationship immediately. It usually begins with minor incidents of lashing out, incidents the victims do their best to excuse. The attacks gradually increase in intensity and the intervals of calm between them simultaneously grow shorter. In general, the motivation for domestic violence is never completely clear and it never ends of its own accord.

The cycle of domestic violence

Cases of domestic violence take place in a cycle called the “spiral of violence”. This cycle can repeat over the course of several years.

A period of rising tension ‒ e.g., constant criticism, ridicule and threats.
An act of violence ‒ physical attack; sexual abuse; or psychological pressure aiming to humiliate you, e.g., by not letting you sleep all night, forcing you to strip in front of your partner’s friends, etc.
Apologies, begging forgiveness, and blaming others ‒ reconciliation gifts; begging on bended knee; crying, promising that something like that will never happen again; blaming the victim for “causing” the perpetrator’s actions.

Domestic violence according to the law

A felony termed “domestic violence” does not exist in Czech law, but the Penal Code (40/2009 Coll.) describes the felony of abusing someone living in your same household (Section 199 Penal Code), and this applies to cases of domestic violence. According to this regulation:

“Whoever abuses an intimate or other person living together with that person in a common household shall be punished by deprivation of liberty between six months and four years.  If the perpetrator commits this crime in an especially brutal or grievous way, and if the action causes grievous bodily hamr, or if it is committed against two or more persons, or if it is committed repeatedly over a longer time, the sentence can range from two to eight years. Should the perpetrator cause grievous bodily harm through such actions to at least two persons, or cause their death, the sentence can range from five to 12 years.”

In connection with domestic violence the following other crimes may be committed:  abuse of a dependent (Section 198), bodily harm (Section 146), grievous bodily harm (Section 145), extortion(Section 175), rape (Section 185), violence a group or individual group member (Section 352), murder (Section 140), false detention (Section 171), false imprisonment (Section 170), trespassing (Section 178), violating the privacy of the mail (Section 182), unauthorized interference with someone’s right to use an apartment, house or non-residential space (Section 208 paragraph 2), obstruction of justice (Section 337 paragraph 2), kidnapping of a minor or a person afflicted by a mental disorder (Section 200), etc.

Statistics and research

Research by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency on the topic of Violence against Women for 2014 has produced representative results for the EU.

Research by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency on the topic of Violence against Women for 2014 has produced representative results for the Czech Republic.

A survey by the Czech public opinion polling agency STEM/MARK, commissioned by the organization Čas robinsonů (Time of the Robinsons) on the topic of Domestic violence and the public (Veřejnost a domácí násilí) was performed in 2015.

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