ECHR highlights Romanian domestic-violence failures

European Court for Human Rights finds lack of commitment in Romania to address domestic assault despite legal framework.

    A majority in Romania finds domestic violence acceptable [Bogdan Cristel/Reuters]
    A majority in Romania finds domestic violence acceptable [Bogdan Cristel/Reuters]
    Correction: A previous version of this article wrongly stated "EU court" in the headline. The European Court for Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe, not the European Union as the acronym suggested.

    A victim of domestic violence, Angelica Balsan, has been awarded $11,000 in compensation from the Romanian government in a court ruling that says authorities failed to protect her.

    Balsan was abused by her husband a total of eight times during their marriage, through the divorce, and after it. Her injuries, documented in medical and police reports, necessitated between two and 10 days care in a hospital each time.

    The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) said "although there was a legal framework in Romania … the authorities had failed to apply the relevant legal provisions in her case".

    "Such an approach ... was inconsistent with international standards on violence against women," the ECHR ruled.

    READ MORE: Want to end sexual violence against women? Fix the men

    Quoting official statistics, the ECHR stated domestic violence is perceived as normal in the EU member state by about 60 percent of Romanians. The court also blasted authorities for not "fully appreciate[ing] the seriousness and extent of domestic violence" in the country.

    Some legal improvements were adopted in Romania such as shortening the timeframe to get a restraining order against aggressors to just three days.

    But the Eastern European country still faces grave shortages in shelters for the abused. The majority of facilities for victims of domestic violence are run by NGOs, despite repeated pledges from authorities to address the issue.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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