The implementation of the 2009 law allowing police to issue restraining orders at the scene of domestic disputes; restraining orders issued by the courts; police awareness and training on this legislation [HUN103823.E]
12 October 2011
Hungary: The implementation of the 2009 law allowing police to issue restraining orders at the scene of domestic disputes; restraining orders issued by the courts; police awareness and training on this legislation
Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Le Journal francophone de Budapest (JFB), a French-language newspaper based in Budapest, reports that in 2010, out of 310 registered homicides in Hungary, 120 were among family members (JFB 15 July 2011). According to the news source, there were 12,000 cases of domestic violence registered by the Hungarian police in 2010 (ibid.). The United States (US) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 includes statistics from the Hungarian National Police Headquarters, which indicate that during 2010 there were 8,514 women that were reported as victims of domestic violence (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 6). According to the US Country Reports, cases of domestic violence are underreported and it is rare for domestic violence cases to be prosecuted because of "societal attitudes that tended to blame the victim" (ibid.). Furthermore, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) indicated that "police remained reluctant to arrest abusers, due to a lack of confidence that the judicial system would effectively resolve abuse cases" (ibid.).
A group submission to the United Nations (UN) Universal Periodic Review (UPR), including the Chance for Children Foundation (CFCF), the Foundation for the Women of Hungary (MONA) and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), states that
[g]ender based violence is officially considered as a social problem. The Penal Code still treats sexual crimes as crimes against decency and the definition of rape is based on the use of force rather than lack of consent. There is no specific law on domestic violence against women ... (CFCF et al. Nov. 2010, para. 3.9)
According to a report by the Hungarian government submitted to the UN for the Universal Periodic Review, the "Hungarian Criminal Code does not include 'violence in the family' as a separate, sui generis statutory provision" (Hungary 16 Feb. 2011, para. 24). However, the government indicates that the Criminal Code and the Act on Administrative Offences "cover all acts falling under the scope of 'violence in the family,'" including "homicide, abortion, battery, coercion, violation of personal freedom, harassment, rape [and] sexual assault" (Hungary 16 Feb. 2011, para. 24).
In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities of Hungary, also referred to as the Minorities Ombudsman, stated that Act LXXII of 2009 concerning restraining orders applicable because of violence between related persons was created after a "long debate" between academics, NGOs, the government, and legislators (Hungary 19 Sept. 2011). Mentioning the main points of the law, the Minorities Ombudsman indicated that the police has the power to impose restraining orders against the aggressor at the scene of domestic disputes for a maximum of 72 hours (ibid.). If the aggressor violates this order, it is considered a "minor offence of domestic violence," included in the Act on Minor Offences in 2009, which can result with the court charging the violator a 550 EU [772.80 CAD (XE 11 Oct. 2011)] fine or with imprisonment for a maximum of 60 days (ibid.). Act LXXII of 2009 also allows the police or the victim to request a 30-day restraining order from a court against the violent family member (ibid.). Another definition included in the Act is "how social workers, teachers, hospital or judicial administration and police co-operate in a crisis or in prevention of a crisis" related to domestic violence (ibid.).
A presentation, given during the European Seminar on Domestic Violence in Paris in November 2010 by the Hungarian Office of Justice, discusses the differences between restraining orders available through the Criminal Proceedings Act and Act LXXII of 2009 on restraining orders (Hungary n.d.). A restraining order in the Criminal Proceedings Act is issued by the court as a "coercive measure" during criminal procedures for 10 to 60 days and can be requested by the public prosecutor or the victim (ibid.). In Act LXXII of 2009, a temporary preventive restraining order can be issued for a maximum of 72 hours by the police, and a preventive restraining order for a maximum of 30 days by the court (ibid.). These orders can be proposed by the police or the "abused person or relative"; violating them is a misdemeanour, resulting in confinement or a fine (ibid.). The full text of Act LXXII of 2009 Concerning Restraining Orders Applicable Because of Violence Between Related Persons is attached to this Response.
Implementation of the Legislation
In his correspondence, the Minorities Ombudsman noted that the effect of Act LXXII of 2009 has not been monitored (Hungary 19 Sept. 2011). A report published by NANE Women's Rights Association covering the years 2009 and 2010 noted that, even if it was "too early to draw consequences" of the implementation of the Act LXXII of 2009, "there are many gaps in using the law and the lack of training for law enforcement officers bans the act to fulfill its already rather limited goals" (NANE n.d.a, 7). NANE is a Hungarian NGO founded in 1994 providing training and publications on domestic violence and offering a hotline for abused women and children (ibid. n.d.b). Similarly, the group submission to the UN and the US Country Reports for 2010 point out that there is no protocol or regular training offered to law enforcement staff on domestic violence (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 6; CFCF et al. Nov. 2010, para. 3.9). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Minorities Ombudsman stated that in Hungary "[t]here are no specific experts or responsible persons dealing with domestic violence" (Hungary 19 Sept. 2011). The Minorities Ombudsman further stated that domestic violence training for police officers depends on the police "commanders' preferences and budget" (ibid.).
According to the group submission to the UN, Hungarian legislation covering "restraining and preventive protection orders cannot provide effective protection to victims of domestic violence" (CFCF et al. Nov. 2010, para. 3.9). The US Country Reports for 2010 also notes that women's rights NGOs indicated that "the law does not provide appropriate protection for the victims [of domestic violence] and does not place sufficient emphasis on the accountability of perpetrators" (US 8 Apr. 2011, Sec. 6). Country Reports also states that a 2009 law allows police officers that are called in for domestic violence incidents to issue "an emergency restraining order valid for three days in lieu of immediately filing charges" (ibid.).
The JFB article reports that out of the 12,000 domestic violence cases of 2010, 1,463 [translation] "temporary removals", representing 12 percent of the cases, were issued as a preventive measure (JFB 15 July 2011). Similarly, the Hungarian Office of Justice reports that under Act LXXII of 2009, there were 1,414 preventive restraining orders issued by the courts between 1 January 2010 and 31 October 2010 (Hungary n.d.). The Office of Justice also states that under the Criminal Proceedings Act, 243 restraining orders were issued in 2009 (Hungary n.d.). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative from MONA Foundation for the Women of Hungary, a Hungarian NGO focusing on women's training, education and research as well as global networking (MONA n.d.), provided information from NANE indicating that there is no data available about individuals that "breach" restraining orders (MONA 21 Sept. 2011).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Chance for Children Foundation (CFCF), European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Foundation for the Women of Hungary (MONA), Hungarian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability (ÉFOÉSZ), Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI), Minority Rights Group International (MRG), People Opposing Patriarchy (PATENT), The City is for All (AVM). November 2010. Hungary - Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review. 11th Session of the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council. [Accessed 24 Aug. 2011]
Hungary. 19 September 2011. Correspondence from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities to the Research Directorate.
_____. 16 February 2011. National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15 (a) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Hungary. [Accessed 1 Sept. 2011]
_____. N.d. Zsófia Tóth. Office of Justice. Domestic Violence - Legal Background and Support System in Hungary. European Seminar on Domestic Violence, Paris, 24-26 November 2010. (European Organisation for Probation, CEP) [Accessed 22 Aug. 2011]
Le Journal francophone de Budapest (JFB) [Budapest]. 15 July 2011. Gwenaëlle Thomas. "Des dispositifs contrastés." [Accessed 19 Sept. 2011]
MONA Foundation for the Women of Hungary. 21 September 2011. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.
_____. N.d. "Goals." [Accessed 22 Sept. 2011]
NANE Women's Rights Association and PATENT Association. N.d.a. Advocating for the Rights of Domestic Abuse Victims: Final Report, 2009 to 2010. [Accessed 22 Sept. 2011]
_____. N.d.b. "About NANE." [Accessed 16 Sept. 2011]
United States (US). 8 April 2011. Department of State. "Hungary." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010. [Accessed 22 Aug. 2011]
XE.com. 11 October 2011. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 11 Oct. 2011]
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Representatives from the European Roma Rights Centre, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Hungarian Foundation for Self-Reliance, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Phralipe Independent Roma Organization, and the Romedia Foundation were unable to provide information for this Response.
The following organizations did not reply within the time constraints of this Response: Central Office of Justice Victim Support Services of Hungary, European Roma Information Office, Fraternal Association of European Roma Law Enforcement Officers, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Hungarian Roma Parliament, International Police Association, Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities, Ministry of Interior, NANE Women's Rights Association, National Police Headquarters, National Roma Self-Government, Open Society Foundations, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Budapest Business Journal; Budapest Sun; Budapest Times; Council of Europe; EIN News; European Country of Origin Information Network; European Union European Commission; Heti Világgazdaság; Hungary - Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice, National Police Headquarters, Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights; Inside Hungary; Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities; MTI Econews; Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; United Nations - Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Integrated Regional Information Networks, Refworld, Secretary General's Database on Violence against Women; Women's International League for Peaceand Freedom.
Hungary. 2009. Act LXXII of 2009 Concerning Restraining Orders Applicable Because of Violence Between Related Persons. Translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. (Harvard University) [Accessed 31 Aug. 2011]