The editors of Refresher were contacted by Aneta (name changed for security reasons), who, according to her words, has been living in uncertainty for the past twelve years. The culprit is domestic violence, the mastermind of which is her father. Although she tried to resolve the situation at home, she was always met with inaction by the police and authorities.
“In recent months, the situation began to deteriorate rapidly. The police visited us countless times and I tried to activate OSPOD as well – I have two minor siblings. A solution is still in sight. It should be reported properly. But that didn’t happen. The police always warn that it will happen next time, but I really don’t believe it.” Aneta wrote.
Refresher asked Věra Nováková and Lucia Hrda, lawyers specializing in domestic violence, for comment.
Dad locked himself in the bathroom with mom and beat her there
“I called the police on my father for the first time when I was about 16 years old. That’s when he locked himself in the bathroom with mom and started beating her there, we saw it through the keyhole. When the police arrived, I was hoping they would take my mom aside and ask what happened. That didn’t happen at all. They asked her right in front of her father, so mom didn’t say much out of fear. Dad finally added something to the effect that children have wild imaginations. The police then suggested that if Dad wanted to, they could report the situation to the Crime Commission, which would mean he would have to pay a fine. The father logically refused. I believed that if we children were present at this, it would at least go to OSPOD. But that didn’t happen,” Aneta described.
According to attorney Nováková, such a procedure is clearly not correct. After arriving at the scene of an incident with signs of domestic violence, the police are obliged to separate the violent person from the threatened person, or other persons present, and talk to each of them separately. “This is partly to prevent the continuation of violence, but also precisely because the person at risk and other members of the household may be afraid to testify truthfully in front of a violent person, and the police may not obtain relevant information.” states.
Advocate Hrdá also believes that there was misconduct on the part of the police authority and the authority for the social and legal protection of children (OSPOD). “Based on the information that a specific person provided, in my opinion there was negligence. In this case, the police officers do not perceive long-term violence as long-term violence, but deal with the situation as individual incidents that subsequently end in a misdemeanor. According to the law, OSPOD should grant the so-called endangered child status to minors. The authority could subsequently act on its own, for example, submit proposals. He cannot say: ‘I’m nothing, I’m a musician’. If a child is at risk, OSPOD has its responsibilities,” he says.
Although, according to Hrdá, there was neglect, she points out that all victims of domestic violence have the right to free services of a lawyer – according to her, the situation in which Aneta finds herself is not unsolvable.
In recent months, the situation at Aneta’s home began to deteriorate rapidly. However, the father was never deported. “Only once did they take dad to detention. He breathed over one per thousand, was very aggressive, attacked my two siblings and screamed that he wanted to kill them. This did not happen, as the brother managed to defend himself at the last moment with pepper spray. The police promised to come in 24 hours at the earliest and to inform us if anything changed. A few hours later, someone started to approach us. He banged on the door and rang the bell. It was dad. So I called the police again, saying that I was terribly afraid. I was only told that Dad had to sleep somewhere. The gentleman told me that we should let him go home and lock ourselves in the room, because the police can’t always come to us.” describes Aneta.
Denunciation is effective but cannot be claimed
According to Nováková, the police made a mistake here as well. It should properly have information about previous trips to the location and proceed based on that. Although reporting appears to be an effective tool, Nováková points out that it is not a claim institute and its application is at the discretion of the intervening police officers.
“Nevertheless, the law allows a similar proposal to be submitted directly to the court, which has the authority to decide by means of a preliminary measure on the obligation of the violent person to leave the shared residence for a period of one month. Any person who lives with a violent person in the same household, including a minor child, can submit a proposal.” adds the lawyer, stating that the court is obliged to decide on the proposal within 48 hours.
The preliminary measure can subsequently be extended for up to six months. If the aggressor does not respect the preliminary measure or report, his behavior can be considered a criminal offense of obstructing the execution of an official decision.
A complaint about the conduct of a specific police officer can be submitted to the internal control department, or a criminal complaint can be filed with the General Inspection of Security Forces or the relevant public prosecutor’s office. However, it is possible – with regard to the inaction of the police – to file a criminal complaint directly against the violent father at the relevant public prosecutor’s office, both in writing and orally.
“According to the described circumstances, the violent behavior of the father could already reach the intensity and seriousness of the crime. The public prosecutor’s office is obliged to accept the notification, evaluate it and subsequently instruct the police authority to initiate criminal proceedings and carry out other necessary actions, including the protection of victims of violence.” supplies.
“At the moment I am very sad about the whole situation. I prefer not to even imagine how many people are in a similar situation as us,” concludes Aneta.
Both lawyers recommend Aneta to seek adequate and affordable help from the best specialized lawyer. You can also contact, for example, an intervention center or one of the non-profit organizations specializing in the issue of domestic violence.
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Lawyers also mention:
- Unfortunately, Aneta’s situation is not at all unique;
- law enforcement agencies do not want to address domestic violence;
- ¾ of the aggressors leave the court with a condition;
- victims do not always want the offender to go to prison;
- the court process is lengthy, burdensome and takes place in inadequate premises;
- there is a lack of comprehensive follow-up care and assistance in the Czech Republic;
- the state does not react in any way to the phenomenon of femicide.
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Source: Penal Code/zakony.centrum.cz, proFemPreview image: Unsplash/Andreea Popa/free to use