COE-Logo-Fil-BWGroup of Experts on Action against Violence                                 

against Women and Domestic Violence

(GREVIO)

_________________________________________

                   Report submitted by Austria

pursuant to Article 68, paragraph 1

of the Council of Europe Convention

on preventing and combating violence

against women and domestic violence

(Baseline Report)

Received by GREVIO on 1 September  2016

GREVIO/Inf(2016)2




GREVIO

Vienna, August 2016First Country Report Austria

2016


Copyright and credits:

Media owner, publisher and editor:
Federal Ministry of Health and Women's Affairs

Division IV
Minoritenplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, Austria
www.bmgf.gv.at

Editorial team: Department IV/4

Translation (except Annex):

Interlingua Language Services-ILS GmbH

Schwarzspanierstraße 15/1/15

1090 Wien

Accessible version (Word)

Vienna, 2016

Copyright and liability:
Copies of excerpts only permitted with reference to the source . All other rights reserved. We note that all information in this publication, despite careful preparation, is given without guarantee, and that liability is excluded for the Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs and for the authors of this report. Legal statements represent the non-binding opinion of the authors and do not in any way pre-empt the jurisdiction of independent courts.


Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

1      Policy measures and data collection. 2

1.1   Strategies and action plans. 2

National Action Plan to Protect Women against Violence 2014 - 2016

National strategy for prevention of violence in schools: “Weiße Feder” (“White Feather”) (2014-2016)

Anti-violence strategy of the Salzburg Regional Government

Styria’s Strategy for women and equal opportunity: 2020

Vienna action plan against FGM

1.2   Financial resources. 3

1.3   Cooperation with civil society institutions. 4

Inter-ministerial working group on “Protecting women against violence” (IMAG)

Dialogue according to the (Federal) Equal Treatment Act

Annual conference of Counselling centres for women and girls

Regular networking and cooperation among experts

Cooperation in individual cases

1.4   Coordination-body under Article 10. 5

Inter-ministerial working group on “Protecting women against violence” (IMAG)

National Coordination Office “Violence against Women”

1.5   Data collection. 6

Police

Judicial system

Health sector

Equal treatment acts at federal and state level

Specialised support facilities

1.6   Research. 9

1.7   Prevalence studies. 10

Prevalence study on “Violence in intimate social environments“ (2011)

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey (2014)

2      Prevention. 11

2.1   Raising awareness. 11

Campaigns

Websites

Brochures and folders

Conferences

Other measures

2.2   Education. 14

Kindergarten

Schools

Tertiary education institutions

Adult education and specific services for migrants

2.3   Vocational training. 17

Judicial system

Police

Health professionals

Teaching staff

2.4   Professional development 18

Judicial system

Employees at women's centres

Health care

Teachers

Court assistance

Supervised visitation

2.5   Working with offenders - domestic violence. 21

Federal working group " Victim protection-oriented work with offenders" (BAG)

Working group on "Federal implementation of victim protection-oriented work with offenders "

Direct dialogue with threatening individuals

Victim protection-oriented work with offenders

2.6   Work with offenders – sexual violence. 23

Neustart

Men's counselling centres

2.7   Involvement of the private sector and the (new) media. 23

Private sector

(New) media

2.8   Self-regulating standards in the area of the (new) media. 24

Austrian Advertising Council (Werberat)

Advertising watch groups

2.9     Sexual harassment in the workplace. 25

2.10   Further actions. 27

“Frühe Hilfen” ("Early assistance”)

"Accompanied discussions for couples in the context of domestic violence"

First Austrian “Social Impact Bond” Project

Forensic psychiatry

3      Protection and support 28

3.1   Access to information. 28

Information sources for those affected and for the general public

Advocacy-based and gender-sensitive advice from support organisations

fem:HELP-App

Mandatory information on support services and rights

3.2   Access to general help services. 29

3.3   Support with individual and collective actions. 30

3.4   Specialised support services. 31

Violence protection centres

Women’s shelters

Counselling centres and shelters for girls and women exposed to forced marriage

Specialised counselling centres for sexual violence against women and girls (Women’s Emergency Helplines)

3.5   Helplines. 34

Women’s helpline 0800 | 222 555

The City of Vienna’s 24-Hour Women’s Emergency Helpline

The Weisser Ring Victims’ Emergency Helpline 0800 112 112

Emergency Helpline for Children and Youth: Rat auf Draht (Advice on the line)- 147

fem:HELP-App

3.6   Affected Children. 36

3.7   Reporting Acts of Violence. 37

General Right of Disclosure

Duty of Disclosure

3.8   Forensic Examination. 38

4      Substantive Law.. 39

4.1   Legal framework. 39

Austrian Criminal Code (StGB)

Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO)

Act on Protection Against Violence

4.2   Special implementation measures. 40

Police officers specially trained in protection against violence

Additional responsibilities of criminal courts

Additional responsibilities of the courts

Ordinance and code of practice in cases of forced marriage

4.3   Civil remedies. 41

Temporary injunctions as part of the Act on Protection Against Violence

Civil proceedings for omission and/or damages

4.4   Compensation for damages. 41

Private parties joining a criminal proceeding

Civil action

Austrian Victims of Crime Act (Verbrechensopfergesetz – VOG)

4.5   Custody and visitation rights. 42

Child welfare

Supervised visitation

4.6   Sanctioning violent acts. 43

Psychological abuse

Stalking

Physical violence

Continued use of force

Sexual violence

Forced marriage

Genital mutilation

Forced termination of pregnancy

Forced sterilisation

Sexual harassment

4.7     Abetment 48

4.8     Attempt 48

4.9     Justification and grounds of excuse. 48

4.10  Privilege. 48

4.11   Criminal threats and further measures. 48

4.12  Aggravating factors. 49

4.13  Diversion. 49

4.14  Police complaint and conviction statistics. 50

5      Prosecution, procedural law and protective measures. 50

5.1   Criminal investigation. 50

Offences prosecuted ex officio

Imprisonment on remand

5.1   Risk analysis and risk management 51

Specialised support facilities

Police risk assessment tool - SALFAG

Public prosecutors with special training

Cooperation in high-risk cases - MARAC

Victim protection-oriented work with offenders

5.2   Restraining and eviction orders. 53

Statutory regulations

Statistics

Support through violence protection centres

5.3   Interim injunctions. 54

Interim injunction for “Protection against violence in residential dwellings", § 382b of the Enforcement of Judgments Act (EO)

Interim injunction for “General protection against violence", § 382e EO

Interim injunction for “Protection against invasion of privacy”, § 382g EO

5.4   Official proceedings. 56

5.5   Court assistance. 57

Court assistance in criminal proceedings

Court assistance in civil proceedings

5.6   Victims' rights. 58

The role of the victim in criminal proceedings

Rights to information and translation

Protection for witnesses in criminal proceedings

Particularly vulnerable victims

Other rights

Children

6      Migration and asylum.. 62

6.1   Residency status. 62

Independent right of residence for the purposes of family reunification

Right of residency with special protection for third country nationals

Statistics

6.2   Asylum application based on gender 63

6.3   Gender-sensitive asylum procedures. 63

6.4   Prohibition of refoulement 64

6.5   Additional measures. 64

Forced marriage

Women on the run

7      Annex. 66

Annex „Statistics from the Federal Ministry of Justice for 2014 and 2015 on numbers of cases and convictions

Annex „Selected legal clauses

Annex „Police Crime Statistics 2014 and 2015“

Annex „Court assistance 2014 and 2015

Annex „GSZ Statistics 2014 and 2015


Introduction

In December 2008, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers appointed a group of experts – CAHVIO – Ad Hoc Committee for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – to develop a Draft Convention on violence against women.

The approved draft was accepted on 7 April 2011 as the “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”, and was signed by 13 member states, including Austria, on 11 May 2011 during a meeting in Istanbul of the Committee of Ministers. This Convention is also known as the “Istanbul Convention”. Austria ratified the Istanbul Convention on 14 November 2013 and it came into effect on 1 August 2014.

The Istanbul Convention marked the first time that Europe has defined binding legal norms regarding violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention covers all forms of gender-specific violence against women and facilitates improvement in international standards concerning violence against women. Member states are also encouraged to apply the statutory obligations on domestic violence to men and children.

To monitor the implementation of the Convention in individual states, an international group of independent experts – Group of experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence (GREVIO)" – was established, which is undertaking an initial evaluation of all States Parties, based on a very comprehensive survey.

Austria and Monaco are the first two countries to undergo this basic evaluation. This first country report by Austria to the Istanbul Convention was coordinated and prepared by the National Coordination Centre for Violence Against Women in the Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs, with the cooperation of ministries, regional governments, and selected civil society institutions.

This report, together with other information sources, forms the basis for the report by the GREVIO committee of experts, and their conclusions about related measures for implementing the Istanbul Convention, which are then dealt with at the parliamentary level in each member state.

Since female trafficking is covered by the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, and as Austria is also issuing special implementation reports on this topic, the entire theme of trafficking in women is not presented in this report. We refer in this regard to reports already issued by the Group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA).[1]


1                     Policy measures and data collection

1.1   Strategies and action plans

There were strategies and action plans at both federal and state levels to address various forms of violence during the reporting period. To avoid double reporting, the National Action Plan against Human Trafficking is not examined here; instead, we refer readers to the GRETA Austria Report, as for the topic of human trafficking in general.

National Action Plan to Protect Women against Violence 2014 - 2016

The Austrian federal government approved the “National Action Plan to Protect Women against Violence 2014 – 2016” (NAP)[2] on 26 August 2014, to implement important provisions of the Istanbul Convention.

This action plan was prepared by the inter-ministerial working group, “Protecting women against violence”, under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs[3], working with specialised aid institutions through round-table discussion and an open space meeting. The working group has since been formalised and expanded. Its task is to support the implementation of the NAP by means of structured cooperation and dialogue. An implementation report is scheduled for 2017.

The NAP includes federal government measures only - over sixty in total - and serves above all as an instrument of interministerial cooperation and the use of synergy effects. Separate action plans were approved on the topics of human trafficking and violence in armed conflicts; see the introduction for more information.

National strategy for prevention of violence in schools: “Weiße Feder” (“White Feather”) (2014-2016)[4]

The Federal Ministry of Education commissioned a national strategy for the prevention of violence in schools, focussing on three main aspects, one of which is (sexual) violence against girls and women. The strategy is being implemented through sub-projects in six fields of activity. In the area of (sexual) violence against girls and women the focus is on sex education in schools, preparation of teaching materials, and developing qualifications for a system of psychosocial support.

Anti-violence strategy of the Salzburg Regional Government

A “Working group against domestic violence” was set up within the framework of the anti-violence strategy, establishing a network of specialised aid institutions and public service centres. The implementation and outcomes of individual measures are determined by structural, organisational, and financial targets and circumstances.

Styria’s Strategy for women and equal opportunity: 2020[5]

This strategy, which was approved in 2014 by the regional government together with seven regional councils, also includes prevention and protection against violence as one of its six strategic fields of action, with measures at both federal and state levels. The strategy was developed following an exchange of ideas through a total of 21 events involving over 700 people.

Vienna action plan against FGM

This action plan was adopted in 2011 and primarily includes training measures for teachers at all kindergartens in the City of Vienna, for 250 employees in hospital obstetrics departments for dealing with pregnant women affected by FGM, for 60 youth workers, as well as a conference on “Female genital mutilation: from prevention to treatment” in Vienna on 22 May 2014, with 140 participants, including professionals from the fields of gynaecology, paediatrics, nursing, and general medicine.

1.2   Financial resources

No specific funding resources have been allocated to the action plans and strategies identified in Chapter 1.1. and it is impossible to make a statement regarding the extent of budgetary resources actually being dedicated to the field of violence against women; this is due, generally speaking, to Austria’s federal structure, varying distribution of ministerial responsibility, and the fact that measures of various kinds are relevant and could be included.

All we can do is to mention some specific examples. The Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, for instance, dedicates slightly more than half its annual budget of 10 million euro to measures for protection against violence, and the majority of this funding is used to finance victim protection facilities. Violence protection centres (Gewaltschuzzentren or GSZ), for example, are financed together with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, each providing about 3.57 million euro in 2014, and about 3.66 million euro in 2015.

The Federal Ministry of Justice spent about 5.25 million euro in 2014 and 5.75 million in 2015 on court assistance, and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs allocated 1.06 million euro in 2014 and 1.96 million euro in 2015 to the funding programme for “peaceful coexistence, violence prevention, and integration”.

A further example at the state administration level: the state of Salzburg provided
1.5 million euro in financing for the Salzburg women’s shelters.

1.3   Cooperation with civil society institutions

There is a long tradition in Austria of close cooperation with civil society institutions, at both federal and state levels, in the area of women’s rights and especially on the topic of violence against women.

This ranges from core funding by the federal government and states of a broad, nationwide network of institutions working on matters related specifically to women and violence, to close cooperation among experts for further development of protection measures, and cooperation across professional groups on protecting victims on a case-by-case basis.

Cooperation with civil society institutions is supported by the following measures, some of which have an institutional form:

Inter-ministerial working group on “Protecting women against violence” (IMAG)

The working group (IMAG), which was mentioned in Chapter 1.1 and is led by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, was expanded in December 2014 to include representatives from the regional governments and civil society.

Along with relevant ministries (Women, Justice, Interior, Family and Youth, Labour and Social Affairs, Education, Health, and Foreign Affairs), the IMAG now includes representatives from all nine federal states as well as ten central civil society institutions (Domestic Abuse Intervention Centre[6], the Austrian Federal Association of Violence protection centres (GSZ) [7], the umbrella association "Austrian Autonomous Women’s Shelter Network[8], the umbrella association ”Union of Austrian Shelters for Women”[9], the Federal Association of Autonomous Women’s Emergency Call Services[10], the Network of the Austrian Counselling Centres for Women and Girls[11], Orient Express[12], the Platform against Domestic Violence[13] for the areas of violence against women and gender-specific work with boys and men, as well as the Austrian Frauenring).

The IMAG has also set up two subsidiary working groups: “Victim-oriented work with offenders” and “Education of professional groups, especially in health services” - also comprising representatives from government offices and civil society institutions.

Dialogue according to the (Federal) Equal Treatment Act

Under § 62 a of the Equal Treatment Act (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – GlBG)[14] and § 20 d
of the federal Equal Treatment Act (B-GlBG)
[15], a dialogue with non-governmental organisations must be held at least once a year. The aim of this dialogue process is to combat discrimination as defined in these federal laws and to uphold the principle of equal treatment.

Annual conference of Counselling centres for women and girls

The Federal Minister for Women’s Affairs invites about 130 funded counselling centres for women and girls to a conference at least once a year. In 2015, the conference saw the introduction of a project on the topic of “violence against women with disabilities” and the national action plan entitled “Protecting Women against Violence”.

Regular networking and cooperation among experts

Furthermore, there are regular networking meetings, open space events, round tables on specific topics, conferences, and media relations activities that invite participation from civil society institutions at the federal and state level. For example, an open space event with the Minister for Women’s Affairs was held in June 2014 to gather suggestions and input for the National Action Plan to Protect Women against Violence 2014 - 2016 (NAP - mentioned in Chapter 1.1), or round table discussions on domestic violence in the context of the “16 days against violence” event in Styria in 2015.

Cooperation in individual cases

There is also regular cooperation between government offices (police, state prosecution service, children’s and youth welfare organisations, etc.) and aid institutions in specific cases.

See also Chapter 5.1.

1.4   Coordination-body under Article 10

Two agencies have been established within the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs to implement Article 10 of the “Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women” (Istanbul Convention).

Inter-ministerial working group on “Protecting women against violence” (IMAG)

The IMAG is led by the director of the unit for “Violence against Women and Women-Specific Legislation” (a lawyer with several years’ expertise in this field), supported by a manager. For more information see Chapter 1.1.

National Coordination Office “Violence against Women”

The National Coordination Office “Violence against Women” is led by the deputy director of the unit “Violence against Women and Women-Specific Legislation” (a lawyer with several years’ expertise in this field), supported by a manager. The director of the coordination office was in the past also tasked with the national coordination of the Austrian position in the negotiation of the Istanbul Convention. The negotiations  were led by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The coordination office has its own email address for organisational matters (contact@coordination-vaw.gv.at). Its website (www.coordination-vaw.gv.at) is currently in preparation.

One of the first tasks for the coordination office was to coordinate the GREVIO state report. An important future priority will be the collection of existing data.

Neither the IMAG nor the Coordination Office has been assigned a specific budget.

1.5   Data collection

Police

The Department for Crime Statistics at the Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service collects all police reports and classifies them according to the crimes as defined in the criminal code. These reports record gender, age, and certain categories of relationships between victims and offenders, as well as a geographic location down to the district level.

These data are published each year in the police crime statistics[16], which are publicly accessible and available online. See also the annex “Police Crime Statistics 2014 and 2015”.

Judicial system

Data on the accused and their victims, including gender, age, and nationality, as well as the alleged crimes, are collected during criminal proceedings. Crimes examined are those that are brought to court and adjudicated, including the offence which determines the extent of punishment (strafsatzbestimmendes Delikt).

It is also possible to identify circumstances or factors that are interesting in terms of legal policy, such as offences committed within families (FAM-Kennung), or child abuse, by applying special crime identification codes or additional entries in the electronic register.

Sentencing data are communicated via an electronic interface to a criminal register maintained by the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Most of the data mentioned are collected in police stations and transferred to the state prosecution service in a structured digital format.

Health sector

Data is collected by the health services in the course of medical diagnoses and treatment in hospital inpatient and outpatient departments. This includes details of age, gender, and location of residence (under a pseudonym since 2015 so that it can be tracked anonymously in the health system)[17], but no additional socioeconomic information. “Causes” or “triggering factors” - such as the use of violence – cannot be derived from either the diagnosis or the treatment.

Equal treatment acts at federal and state level

Statutory reporting as required by equality laws (for the private sector and federal and state government bodies) presents complaints and rulings according to the type of discrimination incident (e.g. sexual harassment). These reports are accessible to the public.[18] Outcomes of individual cases are also published in anonymised form.

Specialised support facilities

§  Violence protection centres (Gewaltschutzzentren, GSZ)[19][20]: Violence protection centres are statutory support facilities for victims of domestic violence and stalking, which are funded jointly by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Centres are contractually obliged to collect comprehensive data. Data analyses are published in the annual reports of the GSZ; see also the annex “GSZ Statistics 2014 and 2015”. Some of the survey data is not published.

§  Women’s shelters: There are two umbrella organisations for women’s shelters: the “Austrian Autonomous Women’s Shelter Network”[21] and the “Union of Austrian Shelters for Women”[22], which produce statistics for the women’s shelters within their respective organisations.[23] The number of women and children receiving support is recorded, for example. See also Chapter 3.4.

§  Specialised counselling centres for women affected by sexual violence (emergency helplines): The specialised counselling centres record the number of cases and client contacts, with detailed information such as duration, frequency, main topics, etc. The Federal Association of Autonomous Women’s Helplines of Austria (BAFÖ)[24]also produces statistics for comparing the number of charges and convictions for certain sex crimes, and publishes these statistics on its website.

§  The City of Vienna’s 24-hour Women’s Emergency Helpline[25]: This service records comprehensive data on advice given by telephone, in person, and via email (including sociological data such as income and previous convictions of the offender).

§  Orient Express[26], a counselling centre and emergency accommodation for women and girls affected by forced marriage: Collected data (age, location of residence, country of origin, citizenship, etc.) are analysed and published in an annual activity report.

§  Counselling services for women and girls: All counselling centres for women and girls which receive funding from the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs provide assistance according to a holistic concept which also includes advice for those affected by violence. In a standardised activity report published each year[27], data is collected on 14 topics of consultation. The topic of “violence” was raised in about 14% of all counselling sessions in 2014, thereby ranking second behind the topic of “relationships.”

The following relevant core data are gathered: number of counselling sessions and clients, demographic data (age, country of origin, visa status), family status, housing conditions, and the number, gender and age of children, and whether they live in the same household; professional status and income, potential care needs in a family context, type of issue with precise details, referral to other counselling centres, etc.

Collected data are analysed in the annual reports, as required by the respective funding body.[28] Published extracts of the survey data are usually available on the counselling centre’s website.

§  Data on work with offenders in domestic violence cases: publicly funded counselling services and men’s centres are organised under the Working Platform of Men’s Counselling Centres and Men’s Centres in Austria (AMÖ)[29] or the Umbrella Association of Men’s Centres in Austria (DMÖ)[30] and offer services which include working with offenders. These offices collect client-related data such as gender, age, professional status, district, frequency of contact, type of violence, etc., although there is currently no standardised procedure. The collected data are evaluated in the annual reports submitted to the funding office. Published extracts of the survey data are usually available on the counselling centres’ websites.[31] Data from individual NGOs are not aggregated at the national level.

§  Data on reconciliation in domestic violence cases: Neustart[32] is active throughout Austria in the field of social work related to the justice system, support with probation and release from custody, as well as victim support and protection. If cases of partner violence are referred in the course of the reconciliation process, data on female victims of domestic violence are extracted from the legal documents.

§  Data from accompanied visits: Upon request or ex officio, a court can mandate a chaperone for visits[33] between the child and the separated parent if the child’s welfare requires it. For low-income parents, this is supported by the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs[34] through providers which offer chaperone services. These organisations are required to collate the following information: number of instances of endangerment by violence / by sexual abuse / by substance abuse / by mental illness, and the number of suspected instances of endangerment by violence / by sexual abuse, and the number of violent incidents between the parents.

1.6   Research

In the 2011-2015 reporting period, the following research projects were conducted and completed with public (co-)financing:

§  Protection from violence for the elderly. Survey of experts on opportunities and obstacles in the implementation of legal regulations in Austria (2015)[35];

§  High-risk victims. Homicides in relationships. Convictions 2008-2010 (2011)[36]: Complete survey of convictions in relationship crimes involving (attempted) murder or manslaughter from 2008 to 2010, with an analysis of risk factors;

§  Sexual violence against domestic workers (Daphne III, “Increasing the capacity of domestic workers of different origins to respond to sexual violence through community-based interventions” (2013 and 2014)[37]: survey of current status, identification of appropriate measures, and recommendations to policymakers;

§  Restorative justice (RJ) in cases of domestic violence. Best practice examples between increasing mutual understanding and awareness of specific protection needs“(2013 to 2016)[38]: Survey of experience applying various approaches to reconciliation in cases of partner violence and illustration of conditions under which an RJ approach is possible and sensible in the context of partner violence, "Practitioners Guide" for RJ for partner violence (in English), Austrian guidelines for state attorneys and judges in cases of reconciliation;

§  SNAP - Special Needs and Protection (Daphne III, 2014 – Oct. 2016)[39]: Investigation of which measures are effective for which especially endangered victim groups (including older women, women with disabilities or with mental health problems), where distinctions must be made, and how they can be adapted to the needs of victims;

§  Access to specialised victim support services for women with disabilities who have experienced violence (2013 to 2015) [40]: Presentation of specific advice services, obstacles for general advice services, and recommendations;

§  Qualitative study, Psychological violence against women” (2013): central statements were published[41]: Survey of 55 residents of women’s shelters about their personal experiences of psychological violence;

§  IMPACT Evaluation of European Offender Programmes (Daphne III, 2013/14)[42], Review of current knowledge on the evaluation of work with offenders in Europe and the development of new opportunities and available materials;

1.7   Prevalence studies

Two relevant prevalence studies were conducted in recent years; based on sample groups of similar size and age range.

Although the second, newer study was commissioned by the EU Commission and not directly by an Austrian public body, it still seems important to discuss it here.

It is evident that the different questions and interview techniques in the two studies produced different results, and that these results cannot be compared without further elaboration. Both studies however show very clearly that the most dangerous place for women in Austria is their own home!

Prevalence study on “Violence in intimate social environments“ (2011) [43]

Key points: Financing from the Family Affairs Federal Ministry: Survey of 1,292 women and 1,042 men aged 16 to 60 regarding four different kinds of violence: physical violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and psychological abuse. Main results:

§  About two-thirds of all women and men surveyed have experienced physical attacks (including “pushing”), about every eleventh woman experienced severe violence (beating), and every seventh man; women experienced physical violence more frequently within a partnership, while for men this is more common in the public sphere;

§  About one-third of the surveyed women have experienced sexual violence, and about every tenth surveyed man; women most frequently experienced sexual violence in a partnership, while for men this is more frequently among friends or acquaintances;

§  About three-quarters of the surveyed women have experienced sexual harassment, and about a quarter of the surveyed men; for both groups this is most common in a public environment, with the second greatest frequency occurring in the context of working life and education;

§  Both women and men in the survey group experienced psychological abuse most frequently in the context of working life and education; the second greatest frequency of psychological abuse occurred for women in partnerships and for men in a public environment;

§  One in four women were affected by all four forms of violence; but only one man in twenty.”

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey (2014)[44]

Key points: EU financed, survey of 42,000 women between 18 and 74 years of age in 28 member states about their experience of physical, sexual, and psychological violence, sexual harassment, stalking, and forms of violence in connection with new media (e.g. cyberstalking), as well as their experiences in seeking help.[45]In Austria, 1,500 women were interviewed. Key results for Austria:

§  20% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15;

§  17% of women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, 12% from their partner, 10% (also) from other people;

§  9% of women have experienced severe sexual violence since the age of 15, 6% from a partner, 4% (also) from other people;

§  29% of the worst acts of violence occurred in the home;

§  35% of women affected by violence have never spoken to anyone about it, only 4% reported the incident to the police, and less than 1% of women sought legal aid or consulted with a victim protection organisation;

2                     Prevention

2.1   Raising awareness

Numerous awareness-raising campaigns were supported with public funds during the reporting period, at both federal and state levels. Due to the number of these measures, only a few can be mentioned here, by way of examples. For further information on these activities, please see the links in the footnotes.

Campaigns

§  GewaltFreiLeben (Living Free of Violence) (2014-2015): This far-reaching campaign was financed by the EU and the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Essential content: further publicity for the women’s helpline (posters, flyers, video and radio advertising), public information about violence against women and possible support options (information events and creation of information materials), third-party support for implementation of an anti-violence project (multiplier effect, 136 partners gained), as well as workshops with five specific target groups, for whom information material was also produced: managers in the health care sector; professional groups involved in high-risk cases; migrants; young people; journalists.

§  K.O. Tropfen Informationsoffensive (Date rape drug information campaign)[46] (2014, 2015): This information campaign was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs in June 2012 and intensified later with the Federal Ministry of the Interior: press advertising, posters, free postcards, more information at the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs website, distribution of free postcards at youth events by prevention officers.

§  16 Tage gegen Gewalt (16 Days Against Violence) (2014, 2015): In connection with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, numerous publicly funded informational events and activities took place, at both federal[47] and state[48] levels, in close cooperation with civil society institutions.

§  “One Billion Rising” campaign[49] (14 February 2014 and 2015): Public (co-)financed events at multiple locations.

§  Meine Hände gegen Gewalt Teil 2 (“My hands against violence, Part 2” ) (2014) poster campaign: part of 16 Days against Violence by White Ribbon Austria, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs. The poster campaign focussed on a positive, violence-free image of “masculinity” with migrant role models.

§  Kunst gegen Gewalt an Frauen (Art versus Violence against Women) art competition (2014): Financed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior; content: invitation to schoolchildren, university students, and artists to design postcards on the topic of violence against women; selected works were printed as free postcards, with a brief informational text, and distributed at public places.

§  “Gewalt macht krank” (“Violence makes you ill!”)[50] (2015): Financed by the City of Vienna; content: Poster campaign among all general physicians and gynaecologists in Vienna, as well as all relevant hospital departments, “Checklist for violence against women”[51] for health care staff at Vienna hospitals and regular multiplier training sessions for female employees of the Vienna Hospitals Association.

§  "Dabei sein heißt beteiligt sein - aber sicher!” (“Being there means being involved – and staying safe!”)[52] (2015): Financed by the City of Vienna; information and workshops on the subject of civil courage in the face of violence (particularly against women) in public places.

§  Campaigns on sexual violence in reference to a demand (which has since been met) for an amendment in the laws on sexual offences: including the publicly sponsored campaign, “ein Nein muss genügen” (“One no is enough”)[53] (2015); online petition[54]; „Freiwillig ist anders“ (“A yes is something else”).

§   “betrifft:rollenbilder” (“subject:role models”)[55] (2014 – 2015): Co-financed by the state of Vorarlberg; raising awareness about role models through various measures such as cinema advertising, and the “roles:parcour” travelling exhibition.

Websites

There are comprehensive websites focused on violence (against women) at both the federal[56] and state[57] level, with reference to existing aid institutions, informational materials, legal regulations, etc., which are constantly updated. Some information is also available in multiple languages.

The aid institutions identified in Chapter 3.4 also offer publicly financed, comprehensive information on their websites.

Brochures and folders

Ministries and state government departments have produced numerous topic-specific brochures and folders that can be viewed on the respective institution’s website, and can typically also be ordered free of charge. The following brochures are examples:

§  Frauen haben Rechte (Women have rights) (2015)[58]; this brochure provides a very comprehensive overview of the rights and options for support of women affected by violence, and includes an extensive list of addresses

§  Tradition und Gewalt an Frauen – Zwangsheirat (Tradition and violence against women – Forced marriage) (2015)[59]; this brochure provides information about the relevant laws and support options

§  Tradition und Gewalt an Frauen - Weibliche Genitalverstümmelung (Tradition and violence against women – Female genital mutilation) (2015)[60]; this brochure provides information about the relevant laws and support options

§  Null Toleranz gegenüber Gewalt an Frauen! (Zero tolerance of violence against women!) (2015)[61], folder by the Carinthian Regional Government

§  Sicherheitstipps für Frauen und Mädchen (Safety tips for women and girls) (2015)[62] from the Tyrolean Regional Government

§  Folder Prozessbegleitung (Court assistance Folder) (2015)[63] in various languages, available throughout Austria in all judicial offices and police stations, victim support centres, child and youth welfare organisations, and from lawyers specialising in youth justice

The aid institutions identified in Chapter 3.4 also offer comprehensive - publicly funded - material on their websites, some of them in multiple languages.

Conferences

There were numerous conferences on specific topics at federal and state levels during the reporting period, including:

§  WAVE Conference: "Future perspectives on preventing violence against women and their children", Vienna, 16-19 November 2014

§  Conference: "Kicking Images. The visual politics of sexualised violence”, Linz, 6-8 May 2015

§  Information day, MARAC – Multi-agency cooperation to protect victims against violence in high-risk cases, funded through the GewaltFreiLeben (Living Free of Violence) campaign, Vienna, 8 June 2015

§  Conference: “Violence makes you ill – Early detection and intervention”, by invitation from the City of Vienna, 17 September 2015, participants primarily from health care professions

§  Symposium: “Victim-oriented work with offenders”, by invitation from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Vienna, 5 October 2015

§  “Damaged souls” – Connections between domestic violence and mental illness, organised by the Union of Austrian Women’s Shelters (ZÖF), Vienna, 26 November 2015

Other measures

From the side of publicly funded aid organisations, there are numerous efforts underway throughout Austria that seek to raise awareness of this topic, particularly in rural areas, and to publicise support services; for example, through women’s groups, women’s festivals, brunches, meetings, readings, and much more.

2.2   Education

A comprehensive overview of the teaching materials used in this wide-ranging field is not possible, but some can be mentioned as examples:

Kindergarten

The administration of kindergartens in Austria currently falls within the remit of the states, apart from the training of kindergarten teachers; so there is no nationally standardised curriculum content.

The Standards for curriculum quality assurance in gender-sensitive education[64] were developed for elementary education and care providers in the City of Vienna; the “Education Box” (2015)[65] was also updated in 2015 and contains suggestions, examples, and teaching methods for integrating gender sensitivity into practical work.

Tyrol also published a brochure entitled, Geschlechtersensible Pädagogik in elementaren Bildungseinrichtungen. Leitfaden für die praktische Arbeit (Gender-sensitive pedagogy in elementary educational institutions. Guidelines for practical work)[66] in 2015.

Schools

The curriculum for primary and secondary school education is a federal matter and the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Education.[67] This means that school types and the curriculum are uniform across Austria, with the exception of pilot school projects. The framework of school autonomy (where schools are self-administered) however allows a certain amount of latitude in curriculum design. School inspection is a federal matter, except where religious education is concerned.

All curricula include education on equality between women and men as a fundamental principle, and all teachers must comply with this requirement. This also includes education on non-violent interaction.

The following support services for classroom teaching provide a few examples:

§  Teaching packs for schools, with didactic and methodological tips for the classroom[68]: The Federal Ministry of Education provides these materials, for topics such as women’s rights, human rights, violence against women and children, gender, equality, and gender equality, school-based work with boys, and gender-specific violence against children and young people with disabilities.

§  Online dossier of topics on “violence against women and girls”[69]: On its “Civic Education for Schools” website, the Federal Ministry of Education provides information on the National Action Plan to Protect Women against Violence, suggested organisations and contacts, as well as recommended materials, films, and workshops to support dealing with this subject in the classroom.

§  Professional development through the Federal Ministry of Education’s National Strategy for Preventing Violence in Schools[70]: Thematic focus in 2014: “Professional conduct in cases of domestic abuse - successful cooperation between schools, psychosocial support systems, and public institutions”; thematic focus in 2015: “Professional conduct in cases of (cyber)bullying, radicalisation, and (sexual) violence against girls and women – successful cooperation between schools, psychosocial support systems, and public institutions”; target group: school psychologists, counsellors, school doctors, school social workers, and youth coaches.

§  “Gewalt am Kind erkennen und helfen” (“Recognising violence against children, and how to help”): this brochure was produced by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, providing guidelines for educators.

§  As part of an inter-regional project “Gender & Schools”, the state of Vorarlberg developed a teaching pack entitled, “Mach es gleich” (“Equality – (let’s get it) right now”)[71], with teaching and learning materials on gender and school (including a gender quiz), for pupils aged 12 or more.

§  Workshops for pupils:There is a wide range of violence prevention workshops for schools, some of which receive funding from the public sector. The “Living Free of Violence” campaign has trained peer educators who have held more than 170 violence prevention workshops in schools and youth organisations, using their own teaching materials. Several specialised aid organisations also offer violence prevention workshops and have their own teaching materials.

Tertiary education institutions[72]

See also Chapter 2.3.

“One in five” [73]lecture series: With support from various ministries, the City of Vienna, and other sponsors, the lecture series “One in five” has now been presented six times (including 2014 and 2015). This interdisciplinary lecture series on the subject of violence against women is aimed at university students in different subjects (e.g., medicine, psychology, international development, history).

Adult education and specific services for migrants

Adult education services cater for many different ages and target groups – including migrants – and a range of educational services which is too broad to describe here.[74] The topics of violence in general and violence against women have low priority here.

We would like to highlight the following two programmes specifically designed for migrants,
as this is currently of particular significance:

§  "Sprache, Bildung und Soziales" – Schulung für muslimische Frauen als Multiplikatorinnen (“Language, education, and social affairs” – Training for Muslim women as peer educators)[75]: financed by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; these courses include a module on the prevention of violence and addiction, mediation and conflict resolution strategies. They are offered throughout Austria and taught by trainers from the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF);

§  Orientation and values courses for refugees and their dependents: Financed by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; these courses are held throughout Austria by trainers from the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) and also include the topic of equal treatment of men and women, as well as non-violence; the accompanying teaching materials, “My life in Austria,” have been translated into the most prevalent refugee languages (Arabic and Farsi/Dari), as well as English;

2.3   Vocational training

Basic training and further education establishments are in principle responsible for selecting their own teaching materials.

These training providers must, however, comply with the appropriate educational specifications. There are already relevant specifications in place for core professional groups such as medical staff, judges, public prosecutors and police officers.

Numerous efforts are also being made, particularly in the health services, to integrate the issue of violence into the training curriculum and to establish uniform education standards and
and programmes for certain support services, such as court assistance.

The core (educational) measures are presented below:

Judicial system

The four-year training programme for judges and public prosecutors provides for special seminars on dealing with victims in criminal proceedings and on the topic of (sexual) violence against children, along with a mandatory two-week placement in a violence protection centre or other social institution. Judges’ examinations also require knowledge of collaboration between judicial and executive bodies and victim support organisations, as well as violence prevention and the Protection Against Violence Act (Gewaltschutzrecht).

Police

Police officers receive special training on the topic of domestic violence as part of their basic training. Trainee police officers receive instruction and awareness training on this issue as part of a 3-day interdisciplinary seminar with the collaboration of experts from violence protection centres.

Health professionals

There are already wide-ranging efforts in place here to incorporate the topic of (domestic) violence into the curriculum for the various medical and healthcare professions, and to develop standards for dealing with victims of violence, and offenders, including how to document evidence of violence.

Examples of existing mandatory requirements in basic training:

§  The Federal Ministry of Health[76] requirements for doctors’ training includes a stipulation that this should include learning to recognise particular characteristics of patients affected by human trafficking and/or psychological abuse and/or physical violence, particularly children, women and people with disabilities.

§  The Vienna Hospital Association (KAV) provides for specific topics such as safety and prevention, identifying violence, violent tendencies, abuse and violence, protecting victims, de-escalation, crisis intervention, etc. in the basic training for its senior healthcare professionals and assistants. Since 2015 medical employees in training have had access to several interdisciplinary events each year on the topic "Violence makes you ill", with courses on victim protection also offered in the Association’s hospitals to familiarise staff with the  relevant processes and procedures.

There have also been local training measures in place, for instance as part of the "Signal" project on behalf of the state of Vorarlberg and the Institute for Social Services (ifs), at the School for Social Service Professions, the Health and Healthcare School in Feldkirch and at the Psychiatric Health and Healthcare School in Rankweil, on the topic of violence and support options for people affected by violence.

A separate working group has been set up as part of the NAP "Protecting women against violence" which seeks to integrate the topic of "identifying and preventing violence against women" into the curricula for the health and healthcare professions.

As part of the project "Domestic and sexualised violence: focus on women and affected children - standards for the curricula for the healthcare professions" a proposal for context-specific standards - based on existing training concepts - is being developed for the end of 2016, together with an outline of the parties within the Austrian healthcare system/health policy area who will be responsible for implementation.

Teaching staff

Training for teaching staff was revised in 2015, and now includes a focus on conveying inclusive, intercultural and gender-related skills. The Salzburg University of Education has established a new professorship for the topic of "gender-neutral education".

2.4   Professional development

There is no data available on the issue of how many people undergo advanced professional development and training on the topic of violence against women. However, the following observations should give an idea of the diversity of training options available, with some specific examples.

Relevant training courses are usually offered by experts in protection against violence, and - depending on the actual target audience - are generally implemented in cooperation with experts from the executive authority, the judicial system and/or the health sector.

Training opportunities are principally in the form of seminars, workshops and professional lectures. Specific topics range from legal issues, or causes and effects of (sexual) violence, to concrete options for intervention, restorative justice and work with offenders, focussed on victim protection. Target audiences include employees of the police force, judicial system, women's centres, healthcare and social services, probation service, trade unions/social partnerships and employment services, as well as teachers, members of works councils and employee representatives.

The content and time frame are determined by the specific needs of participants. Training programmes are generally funded by employers or using funds from public authorities.

Judicial system

In the judicial system, although continuing education is one of the professional obligations specified by the Judicial and Public Prosecution Service Act, there are no mandatory training programmes in place. In 2014 eight seminars took place on "equal treatment/violence/protection of victims"; for 2015 there is no information available yet. The relevant topic areas are also covered in seminars with "more general" titles (criminal law, family law, etc.).

Employees at women's centres

There are ongoing training opportunities for this group, e.g. in 2014 a three-day seminar on "Psychosocial priorities and mental health" (psychosoziale Schwerpunkte und Psychohygiene) and a two-day legal seminar were funded by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, for 25 participants in each case, and in 2015 a seven-day seminar series on court assistance with 26 participants as well as a two-day networking meeting with 17 participants.

Health care

There are numerous professional development courses for members of the medical and healthcare professions, including on the topic of "violence", although no national overview can be provided.

Two examples are presented here:

§  As part of the “Living Free of Violence” campaign, 21 workshops were held for healthcare professionals and middle management, reaching around 400 employees. The workshops were hosted by employees of the Vienna Domestic Abuse Intervention Centre as well as employees from forensic medicine and the child and victim protection groups from the relevant hospitals. An essential principle for these workshops was that in-house hospital experts should present both the lectures and the hospitals' internal policies.

§  In 2015 the Vienna Programme for Women's Health included an interdisciplinary training series "Violence makes you ill", run in collaboration with the Vienna Hospital Association, for clinical staff. This is also being continued in 2016. Participants gave highly positive feedback and were also asked to state the extent to which they work with patients affected by violence: according to this survey the participants dealt with 25 cases of physical violence, 20 cases of sexual violence and 29 cases of psychological abuse on average every year.

§  Victim support groups were set up in all Vienna clinics with gynaecological or emergency departments. Their job is to identify violence at an early stage and to raise awareness among employees. A Vienna-wide forum was set up in 2013 under the aegis of the City of Vienna's 24-hour Women's Emergency Helpline and the Office for Women's Health and Health Targets, to link these victim support groups and this continued through the reporting period. Its aim is to promote standardised processes for dealing with patients affected by violence as well as to link institutions providing protection against violence.

In order to identify signs of violence as well as to document these for court purposes and to support intervention which is sensitive to victims, several guideline documents have been developed for medical and healthcare professionals[77], the most recent of which, titled "Acting together to combat violence against women and domestic violence"[78] is part of the “Living Free of Violence” campaign.

The MedPol project initiated as part of the "Alliance against violence" is also worth mentioning in this context: this has been run since 2010 by the Federal Ministry of the Interior working together with the medical profession. The focus is on increased collaboration between the health services and police to identify injuries caused by violence and the development of standardised procedures to strengthen staff confidence in dealing with these issues.

A brief user-friendly check-list was also created for victims of violence[79] as part of this project which facilitates the provision of evidence in criminal proceedings. Improved distribution and use of this check-list is also an action under the NAP "Protecting women against violence".

Teachers

The following are listed as examples of a large number of professional development courses:

§  Courses on gender-based violence and preventing violence were held for teachers and peer educators as part of the Aktionstage Politische Bildung 2015 (Political education action days 2015).

§  Courses on "Sexuality and the internet" were offered for school psychologists in cooperation with saferinternet.at.

Court assistance

Mandatory standardised training for court assistants was agreed between the relevant ministries (Federal Ministry of Justice, Family and Women’s Affairs) as part of the NAP "Protecting women against violence". The inter-ministerial working group (IMAG) "Court assistance" led by the Justice Federal Ministry subsequently developed a curriculum for psychosocial support with the involvement of outside experts - with specialised strands for the three groups of victims "women", "children" and "victims of situational violence". A maximum of 27 participants are admitted for the general training, and a maximum of 12 for the specific training.

An administrative agreement between these ministries governs the content and scope of the training along with its overall conditions and cost allocation. A single course costs around 8,000 euro.

The first course began in October 2015 with 13 employees from women's institutions taking part, 7 from the area of court assistance for children and young adults and 5 from court assistance for victims of situational violence and court assistance for men.

Binding standards to be complied with when implementing court assistance - based on existing standards - are being worked out as part of a next step. The Austrian Act Amending the Law of Criminal Procedure (Strafprozessrechtsänderungsgesetz) 2016, which has been in force since 1 June 2016, authorizes the Federal Ministry of Justice to issue statutory instruments in consultation with the Ministries of Family and Women’s Affairs.

Also a curriculum for lawyers who offer court assistance was developed as part of the efforts to implement the NAP "Protecting women against violence".

Supervised visitation[80]

Since November 2015 the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs has held training courses based on a specific curriculum for visitation supervisors with the aim of raising awareness and ensuring appropriate intervention in (suspected) cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse. So far there have been three courses, each with 18 participants.

2.5   Working with offenders - domestic violence

Men’s counselling centres, men´s centres [81] and the Neustart association use a variety of approaches to work with violent men.

Extensive efforts have been made in recent years to establish nationwide programmes for working with offenders which focus on victim protection.

Federal working group " Victim protection-oriented work with offenders " (BAG)

A core element of this initiative was the setting up of the federal working group in 2012 which includes men’s counselling centres (focussing on victim protection), the Neustart association and victim protection centres. The group’s activities are funded jointly by the Ministries of Social and Women’s Affairs (7,000 euro each in 2014 and 2015). Key achievements so far include:

§  mapping the existing national programmes for working with offenders including methodical approach, whether victim protection is the priority or not

§  approval of a cooperation agreement between the Neustart association and victim protection facilities (violence protection centres, women's shelters) in cases where work with offenders is linked to criminal proceedings

§  development of standards for victim protection-oriented work with offenders (although these have not yet been completed)


Working group on "Federal implementation of victim protection-oriented work with offenders "

In 2015 the IMAG "Protecting women against violence" set up the working group on "Federal implementation of victim protection-oriented work with offenders", whose principal aim is to ensure nationwide implementation of such programmes in accordance with mandatory standards.

Direct dialogue with threatening individuals

" Gefährderansprachen” (direct dialogue with threatening individuals) "[82] can be provided as a direct police intevention by specially trained police officers, who make the offender aware of their actions and their (legal) consequences, particularly in the event of any further crime. This aims to encourage offenders not to commit any further crimes and to seek professional assistance of their own accord (e.g. therapy).

Victim protection-oriented work with offenders

The training programme for victim protection is structured around three elements: offender training by a men’s counselling centre or the Neustart association, the support programme for (ex-) partners through a violence protection centre[83] or women's shelter, and cooperation between both types of establishments, as well as their links to other elements of the intervention system. Work on gender socialization and violence in sexual relationships is included in the intervention strategies of victim protection-oriented work with offenders.

Men's counselling centres

The "oldest" programme for victim protection-oriented work with offenders was established in 1999 by the Men’s Counselling Centre Vienna together with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Centre Vienna (IST Vienna). Around one-third of participants in the anti-violence programme by the Men’s Counselling Centre Vienna are referred through the judicial system (diversion programmes, suspended sentences with compulsory anti-violence training, parole, requirement from the guardianship court).

The costs of the IST Vienna are funded as part of the mandate from the Ministries of the Interior and Women’s Affairs (see Chapter 3.4). The costs for the Men’s Counselling Centre Vienna are funded by the Ministries of the Interior, Justice (10,000 euro each in 2014 and 2015), Family and Social Affairs, although this funding is not guaranteed for the long term.

The Association for Men´s and Gender Issues Graz[84] supports between 50-60 men each year, with around 20 of these in long-term intervention programmes. Anti-violence group training is held in Graz with around 10-15 participants each year taking part over a long period. In Styrian regions training is also held on an individual basis, with around 5-10 long-term participants each year.

The "Man"agement Association for violence prevention (Verein Man(n)agement - Verein zur Gewaltprävention (MVG) in Klagenfurt also carries out victim protection-oriented work with offenders.

Neustart

The Neustart association offers victim protection-oriented work with offenders on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Justice, in connection with criminal proceedings. Clients are referred to Neustart partly through judicial orders (probation, electronically monitored house arrest) and partly on a voluntary basis (help for ex-prisoners). Cooperation with victim support organisations is based on the agreement already mentioned between Neustart and victim support organisations (violence protection centres and women's shelters).

2.6   Work with offenders – sexual violence

Neustart

Sex offenders are subject to mandatory care supervision by the Neustart organisation. On average there are around 600 sex offenders under supervision.

Men's counselling centres

Several men's counselling centres in Austria also work with sex offenders, such as the Association for Men and Gender Issues Graz, which supervises self-referring clients as well as those referred by another body.

2.7   Involvement of the private sector and the (new) media

The following are examples from this extensive sphere of activity during the report period:

Private sector

§  The "Living Free of Violence” campaign: the campaign has won the support of more than 130 project partners (social organisations, companies from a wide range of sectors, and individuals) who initiated private actions. Project support was provided as needed, for instance through information materials, the "Silent Witnesses" exhibition and through information days and seminars.

 (New) media

§  Development of guidelines for journalists on "responsible reporting for a life free from violence"[85]as part of the "Living Free of Violence" campaign: interactive PDF with recommendations and publication of the guidelines, with an abridged version in leaflet form, on the intranet of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF

§  Guidelines for gender-neutral language and non-discriminatory imagery published by the City of Vienna[86]

§  Image bank on the topic of violence against women and children in relationships[87] for the media, organisations and individuals, created by the Information Centre against Violence (of the AÖF), and supported with public funding

§  Workshop for journalism students at the Journalism Institute 2014 on responsible reporting in cases of domestic violence, as part of the "Living Free of Violence" campaign

§  Workshop for representatives from the media on basic principles for gender-friendly media reporting, funded by the State of Vorarlberg

2.8   Self-regulating standards in the area of the (new) media

Austrian Advertising Council (Werberat)

The Austrian Advertising Council (Werberat) was conceived as an instrument for self-regulation. The council recommends the removal of advertising which breaches its code of ethics [88]. However, it can only make recommendations, which are not binding in nature.

In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs an "Anti-Sexism Panel" was set up in November 2011, which is consulted during the complaints procedure. This panel is invited to give an opinion in cases of alleged gender-discriminatory advertising. Members of the Advertising Council take account of the panel’s opinion in their decision-making process.

In 2015 284 complaints to the Austrian Advertising Council - 35% of which concerned gender-discriminatory advertising - resulted in 22 such calls for campaigns to be discontinued: more than ever before.[89]

Since 2014 the Advertising Council has also made a Retouch barometer[90] available on its website, which can be used to check the authenticity of advertising photos in terms of slenderness and beauty.

Advertising watch groups

The advertising watch groups set up in some federal states can be viewed as a stimulus for self-regulation for (new) media. Citizens are able to submit complaints here against sexist advertising. Experts then assess whether the newspaper advertisement, poster or commercial is sexist based on a detailed set of criteria and publish the assessment on their homepage. Advertising watch groups like this currently exist in Graz[91], Salzburg[92] and Vienna[93].

2.9   Sexual harassment in the workplace

The equal treatment acts (for the private sector as well as the federal government and states) provide protection from sexual harassment at work. The Equal Treatment Act for the private sector also provides protection from sexual harassment when accessing goods and services.

Sexual harassment according to the Equal Treatment Acts is further defined as the criminal offence of sexual harassment, see Chapter 4.6, and occurs if

§  the offender engages in conduct of a sexual nature which harms or aims to harm the dignity of the individual

§  this is unwanted, inappropriate or offensive for the person affected and

§  this creates or is intended to create an intimidating, hostile or humiliating work environment or

§  has other negative or positive effects on the work relationship.

The Ombuds for Equal Treatment[94] were set up (for those affected in the private sector) and equality representatives appointed (for those affected in the public sector) to support people who are affected by discrimination according to the Equal Treatment Acts.

In the event of a justified suspicion of (sexual) harassment, the person affected or (with the latter's written consent) the Ombud for Equal Treatment or equality representative may request an assessment from the Equal Treatment Commission on whether (sexual) harassment has taken place in a specific case.

The process is designed to have a low threshold, is free of charge, and simple prima facie evidence of a discriminatory offence suffices. The Equal Treatment Commissions prepare expert opinions, deliver the findings from individual case investigations and provide recommendations.

Damages under the Equal Treatment Act must be claimed in the relevant Arbeits- und Sozialgericht (Labour and Social Services Court) or the relevant district court, although the risk of having to pay litigation costs must be taken into account. Damages of at least 1,000 euro can be awarded if harassment or sexual harassment is found according to the Equal Treatment Act.

Under the Equal Treatment Act for the private sector and Federal Equal Treatment Act for the public sector, the courts are not bound by an expert opinion from the (Federal) Equal Treatment Commission, but they must consider it in an individual case and provide justification for any result which differs from this.

In proceedings under the Federal Equal Treatment Act (for the public sector) before the civil courts – in contrast to other civil court proceedings – the burden of proof is also eased: the person alleging a discriminatory offence under this Federal Act before the court merely has to provide prima facie evidence of the facts which indicate that direct or indirect discrimination has occurred. If they manage to do this, then the defendant has to prove that there has been no breach of the principles of equality.

Any individual alleging discrimination under the Equal Treatment Act (for the private sector) also just needs to provide prima facie evidence of this. If they manage to do this, then the defendant has to prove that upon consideration of all of the circumstances it is more probable that there was another deciding factor, that the (other) gender is an indispensable requirement for performing the particular function, that there is a justifiable reason, or whether upon consideration of all of the circumstances it is more probable that the facts as represented by the defendant correspond with the truth.

The possibility of criminal prosecution also remains open irrespective of applications to the Equal Treatment Commission or civil courts, see Chapter 4.6.

Furthermore a large number of training and other measures have been and are being implemented aimed at raising awareness of what behaviour represents (sexual) harassment and what steps can be taken to counter this:

§  women's advancement programmes regularly include training measures for counsellors, managers and people in positions of responsibility;

§  enactment by the Styrian regional government of the “Guidelines on protection from sexual harassment at the workplace in the Styrian state service”;

§  Brochure from the Austrian Trade Union Federation entitled “Hilfestellungen zur Gewaltprävention am Arbeitsplatz” ("Assistance with preventing violence at the workplace”)[95], which also provides information on practical assistance for affected persons, and in particular for women;

§  Brochure titled “Belästigung und Gewalt am Arbeitsplatz” ("Harassment and violence at the workplace”) from the employer and employee advocacy groups[96];

2.10        Further actions

“Frühe Hilfen” ("Early assistance”)

The project “Frühe Hilfen” ("Early assistance”) was developed in 2014 on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health as part of the NAP "Protecting women against violence" and implementation of the Health Strategy for Children and Young People. This is aimed at identifying (serious) strains on families at an early stage, such as family violence against women and/or children, which threaten the healthy development of the children (directly or indirectly affected) and at providing practical support. A basic model ("Idealmodell"[97]) was developed that can be adapted locally. This consists of a basic offering for all families and needs-based support for families in stressful situations, through local networks which also include support organisations specifically for women.

From 2015 onwards local networks have been established which act as multi-professional support systems with coordinated services over the longer term for parents and small children, with the aim of helping families to help themselves.

"Accompanied discussions for couples in the context of domestic violence"

This project has been under way since 2015 and is implemented by the Union of Austrian Shelters for Women (ZÖF) working in collaboration with the men’s counselling centres in Vienna and Graz.

Within this framework, women who are being housed in women's shelters, but who for whatever reason wish to discuss issues with their violent (ex) partner – perhaps because they have not yet given up hope of a relationship free from violence, or wish to find a solution that is as free from conflict as possible for the sake of the children following separation – are given the chance to hold these discussions in a protective setting with the support of experts. Victim protection and safety planning are the highest priority. A prerequisite is that the man accepts responsibility for his violent action(s) and wants to contribute to the solution.

Discussions such as these are currently offered to couples in Vienna, Graz, St. Pölten and Klagenfurt.

First Austrian “Social Impact Bond” Project[98]

This first “Social Impact Bond” pilot project is designed to provide women affected by violence with secure and sustainable employment and enable them to escape these violent structures permanently with their newly gained economic independence. The project partners are the Centre for Protection against Violence in Upper Austria and the Women's Shelter in Linz.
The project is set to run from September 2015 until August 2018.

Forensic psychiatry

Forensic psychiatry is also worth mentioning with regard to (sexual) offenders. This is aimed primarily at reducing danger specific to certain illnesses that has manifested itself in a serious criminal offence. The central guidelines stipulated by law prioritise the safety of the population through prevention of re-offending and social rehabilitation of detainees. Only secondly does it involve goals which are the priority of clinical psychiatry and psychotherapeutic schools, such as freedom from symptoms, ability to work and form relationships and quality of life. A risk and resource profile is created accordingly at the start of the treatment.

3                     Protection and support

3.1   Access to information

Information about support services and relevant legal provisions is conveyed at various levels: through information channels aimed at the general public, through advice from support centres for those directly affected and as mandatory legal information on rights and available support.

Information sources for those affected and for the general public

See Chapter 2.1 for details of the many and varied sources of information for the general public. These range from information on websites of public bodies and support organisations, to printed material in the form of brochures, flyers, free cards, etc. and to newspaper advertisements, public events, workshops, etc. Much of the information on offer is available in several languages.

The Information Centre Against Violence[99], which was set up in 1991, should also be mentioned here. Its core responsibility is to provide information for professional groups and media representatives.

Advocacy-based and gender-sensitive advice from support organisations

The numerous support organisations provide those affected with extensive information, advice and support from a sympathetic perspective, i.e. “advocacy-based”. The actual services offered are shown on each organisation's homepage, including details of how these can be accessed. Options for advice in other languages can also generally be found on the relevant homepage.

fem:HELP-App[100]

The fem:HELP-App for Android mobiles and iPhones funded by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs is designed to help women and girls to contact support organisations quickly and easily and to document violent experiences of various types – with direct access to the emergency police number and women's helpline (including the emergency number for the deaf). It is free of charge and also available in English, Turkish and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

Mandatory information on support services and rights

Legally required information provided[101] by criminal investigators and the public prosecutor's department on essential rights of victims[102]: victims are entitled to information on essential rights of victims once a criminal investigation is started against a particular individual (who is not necessarily known by name).

Individuals who have a right to court assistance[103] must be notified of the legal preconditions for court assistance before questioning begins.

In the case of victims whose sexual integrity may have been violated there are special information obligations in place, for example about their right to be questioned, if possible, by a person of the same gender during the investigation proceedings.

Information on these rights must be provided in a language the victim knows and in a way the victim is able to understand, taking into account any specific personal needs[104]. If the victim does not understand the language of the proceedings then an interpreter must be provided to translate the information.

In cases of domestic violence there is also the so-called “Opfergespräch” (“Victim discussion”, with specially trained police officers (prevention officers). This generally takes place two days after the violence has occurred. The time gap makes it easier for the victim to take in information and to reflect on the overall situation and, in cooperation with the prevention officer, to identify the necessary (additional) protective measures.

Doctors are required to make a referral to victim protection facilities in cases of serious personal injury committed with intent[105]. The same also applies to members of the non-medical health professions. See also Chapter 3.7.

3.2   Access to general help services

There are plenty of organisations that provide support to the general population and as part of this (may) also come into contact with women affected by violence. Examples include family counselling centres, aid organisations for children and young people, federal social welfare offices, employment centres, health facilities and general counselling centres for women and girls.

Because of the large number of regional support organisations funded by many different entities, it is not possible to give an overview of all relevant organisations and their services and actions for (potential) identification of and support for victims, or to provide data on how many women affected by violence receive support from these organisations.

However, the wide-ranging information, awareness raising and training available from relevant professional groups have been outlined already and are available also to employees of these organisations.

The family counselling centres can be taken as an example. Of approximately 400 family counselling centres funded by the Austrian Family Counselling Promotion Act (Familienberatungsförderungsgesetz), 41 are combined women's and family counselling centres, focussing mainly on violence against women. This includes four counselling centres (in Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Tyrol) in the immediate vicinity of women's shelters and two counselling centres in Vienna which specialise in counselling in cases of sexual abuse. On the family counselling homepage[106] a search for counselling centres based on the topic of "violence" results in 225 hits and a search for counselling centres based on the topic of "sexual abuse, rape" provides 197 results. This shows that violence-related counselling is also covered at other centres specialising in family counselling in addition to those  already mentioned.

Hospitals and health centres should be considered in particular, since women affected by violence come to them for treatment of injuries and various other health problems. Various studies, along with the base study "Violence against women: an EU-wide survey (2014)" already mentioned reveal that women affected by violence go to healthcare facilities for help considerably more often than they do to the police or a support organisation. Please refer to the details already given about training initiatives in the healthcare and nursing services.

The obligation of hospitals[107] to set up victim support groups must also be mentioned. Victim support groups are responsible on the one hand for early detection of sexual, physical and psychological violence (particularly in women) and on the other for raising awareness among the hospital staff who come into contact with individuals affected by violence.

3.3   Support with individual and collective actions

The Association for Women’s Access to Justice (Verein Frauen-Rechtsschutz)[108], which  operates throughout Austria and is based in Vienna, strives to remove obstacles encountered by women and children accessing the legal system in criminal proceedings, in civil law claims following threats of or actual violence, in proceedings linked to matrimonial and family law as well as in asserting their right to equality under employment and social law.

The Association provides financial support for legal representation and for test cases, and has been funded since 1998 by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs (receiving 45,000 euro in both 2014 and 2015) as well as the local office of women's affairs in Carinthia for example.

3.4   Specialised support services

The homepage of the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs contains a comprehensive outline, in German and English, of violence-specific aid organisations.[109]

This gives a short description of the services offered and links to the addresses of individual support organisations. Addresses are updated regularly and link to each aid facility's homepage, where opening hours can be found and a detailed description of the actual advisory services available.

There are also many counselling centres for women and girls which do not specifically focus on violence, but which nevertheless provide counselling to individuals affected by violence. The homepage of the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs lists around 130 counselling centres for women and girls co-funded by the Federal Ministry along with their (web) addresses.

In 85% of Austria's political districts there is at least one counselling centre for women and girls co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs. All these counselling centres are non-profit associations. There are also some further counselling centres for women and girls which are not co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs and hence are not included on the aforementioned list. The local departments for women's affairs at state level might therefore provide an even more comprehensive overview of counselling centres for women and girls for each federal state.[110]

With the exception of violence protection centres (see below), both the violence-specific aid facilities and the more general counselling centres for women and girls receive annual funding.[111] Depending on the relevant counselling centre, these are provided by ministries, federal states, the employment service, the trade union, etc..

Any services offered by the counselling centres for women and girls must be accessible to all girls and women without discrimination and therefore also to those with special needs.

Counselling is provided by women only, anonymously and confidentially (no information is passed on without the consent of the person concerned), focussing on the client’s interests and empowerment - particular features are listed in the following detailed information.

Most of the employees are qualified social-workers or lawyers and receive ongoing training related to violence against women. An overview of the staff available at individual facilities is generally provided in their annual report.[112]

The counselling services on offer, opening hours and contact details are available on the homepage for the relevant counselling centre.

Counselling is free-of-charge - particular features are outlined in the following detailed information.

Violence protection centres

The violence protection centres provide comprehensive counselling and support – on behalf of the Ministries of the Interior and of Women’s Affairs – to women, men and children directly affected by domestic violence and stalking .

In each federal state a violence protection centre has been set up[113], some of which also have regional offices for easier access. They all are non-profit organisations (Vereine oder gemeinnützige Gesellschaften mit beschränkter Haftung). All violence protection centres have also become affiliated under the Federal Association of Violence Protection Centres (Bundesverband der Gewaltschutzzentren).

The violence protection centres are funded jointly by the Ministries of the Interior and of Women’s Affairs, with the existing regional offices in some cases being funded by the relevant federal state. Services are offered free of charge.

The services were put out to public tender in 2012 based on common quality guidelines. There are also requirements for staff recruitment (qualified experts) and continuing professional development.

See Chapter 1.5 on data acquisition and case statistics, and Chapter 5.2 on the role of the violence protection centres within the framework of the Austrian Act on Protection Against Violence.

Women’s shelters

Women’s shelters provide safe accommodation, care and support to women affected by violence and their children.

There are 30 women's shelters throughout Austria (26 of which are autonomous), and these are largely organised under two umbrella associations – the Austrian Autonomous Women’s Shelter Network[114] (AÖF) currently comprising 15 women's shelters and the Union of Austrian Shelters for Women[115] (ZÖF) currently comprising 11 autonomous women's shelters.

The women's shelters organised under the AÖF provide a total of 340 places, and those under the ZÖF provide 367 places, while the remaining 4 women's shelters provide a total of 56 places.

The autonomous women's shelters as well as the two umbrella organisations are all non-profit associations. Funding responsibility for women's shelters lies with the federal states though further funding is provided by some ministries or via donations.

In addition to protection and accommodation, services also include psychosocial support, help to find work and to overcome financial problems, legal support, legal and psychosocial court assistance, support concerning the upbringing and education of children, individual and group activities for women and children, etc..

Different rules apply within each state as to whether the accommodation is free and under which conditions.[116]  Also the potential (maximum) length of stay is subject to different rules. Regular residence in the relevant federal state is a prerequisite for accommodation. Acceptance of women from other states, asylum seekers or women without documents needs to be clarified on an individual basis.

Both the AÖF and the ZÖF have developed quality standards which are outlined in a brochure or manual.

All women's shelters can be contacted through a 24-hour emergency helpline available around the clock and all year.

In addition to the women's shelters, (women's) transitional and social housing also offers free accommodation, protection, counselling and support, regardless of background, religion or income situation, to women and their children[117] as well as to families in crisis as a result of physical, psychological or sexual violence. They are open not only to women and children affected by violence, and have lower security standards than women's shelters.

There are no combined statistics for women's shelters. The 26 women's shelters organised under the umbrella associations AÖF and ZÖF provided support to a total of 1,645 women and 1,603 children in 2014, and to a total of 1,681 women and 1,650 children in 2015.

Counselling centres and shelters for girls and women exposed to forced marriage[118]

Orient Express operates a shelter in Vienna for girls and women aged 16-24 from all over Austria who have been exposed to or threatened with forced marriage.

Orient Express is financed jointly by the Ministries of the Interior and Women’s Affairs.

The organisation also offers counselling and workshops on the topic of forced marriage for training multipliers (teachers, for example) and schools. For relevant data, see Chapter 1.5.

The counselling centre DIVAN[119] in Graz is also specialised in handling violence related to traditional cultural practices.

Specialised counselling centres for sexual violence against women and girls (Women’s Emergency Helplines)

These specialised centres provide counselling for women and girls from the age of 14 who have experienced sexual violence.

There are currently five autonomous centres for sexual violence (Graz, Eisenstadt, Innsbruck, Linz and Vienna) grouped under the Federal Association of Autonomous Women’s Helplines of Austria (BAFÖ).

The women’s emergency helplines and BAFÖ are all non-profit associations. They are financed through annual contributions from local and regional governments and federal ministries and, to a lesser extent, through donations and project-specific funding by charity organisations.

Each autonomous women’s emergency helpline assumes responsibility for the respective federal state, whilst the Vienna centre also covers parts of Lower Austria and Burgenland.

The City of Vienna’s 24-Hour Women’s Emergency Helpline, which is discussed in more detail in the next chapter, is another key counselling centre for sexual violence.

Around 1,070 clients are assisted each year by the five autonomous centres.

3.5   Helplines

All of the following helplines are open around the clock and are free of cost. Counselling services are confidential and may be kept anonymous if requested.

Women’s helpline 0800 | 222 555[120]

The Women’s helpline is available nationwide and serves as the first point of contact for victims of domestic violence in Austria. Women and children who have been affected by violence are the primary target group, but men and male youths also access the cost-free nationwide counselling services (around 7% in 2014) – they are primarily concerned family members, friends or work colleagues of women who are or may be affected.

The hotline was established in 1998 and has been run by the Austrian Autonomous Women’s Shelter Network (AÖF) since June 1999. It is financed completely by the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs (317,000 euro annually in 2014 and 2015).

Counselling is guided by the principles of gender sensitivity (counselling by women), advocacy, empowerment and autonomy. Services include crisis intervention and comprehensive information about appropriate counselling and care services, with which clients may be put in direct contact, if desired.

Services can also be provided in English, BCS (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian), Arabic (Persian, Dari, Farsi), Russian and Turkish.

The helpline’s website has been fully accessible for people with disabilities since 2013 and Services for deaf women have been offered since 2015 with the help of a relay service.[121]

A Help Chat[122] (Mondays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. – except holidays) provides an opportunity for anonymous virtual counselling and can also be used as a form of chat room.

The helpline was heavily advertised throughout the country recently as part of the “Halt der Gewalt” (“A Stop to Violence”) campaign.

The breakdown of calls shows however that the helpline is, as before, better known in the eastern federal states, or at least more frequently used by people in those states.

In 2014, 6,937 women and girls received counselling sessions. Data is not yet available for 2015.

The City of Vienna’s 24-Hour Women’s Emergency Helpline [123]

The women’s emergency helpline is not only a telephone helpline, but also a full crisis and counselling centre for all women and girls from the age of 14 who have been affected by violence. Family members or supportive individuals (women and men) from amongst the woman’s friends or acquaintances can also receive advice and support from the emergency helpline.

The women’s emergency helpline is financed solely by the City of Vienna. There is a staff of 12 (each working full time at 40 hours per week), with nine providing counselling and three staff members responsible for administration.

Counselling is provided by telephone, in person or via email based on the principles of gender sensitivity (counselling by women), advocacy, empowerment and autonomy. Clients may also request to be accompanied to the police, hospital, lawyers’ offices and courts.

Services can be provided in German, Bosnian, English, Farsi, French, and Italian. For any other languages, an interpreter can be arranged.

A total of 8,775 sessions were provided in 2015: 6,689 by telephone, 1,151 in person (including 141 accompaniments) and 935 by email.

The Weisser Ring Victims’ Emergency Helpline 0800 112 112[124]

A telephone helpline for all victims of crime. Financed by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

This victims’ emergency helpline is available around the clock, nationwide and free of cost. Advice is provided by telephone, is confidential and may be anonymous by request, and is offered in accordance with the principles of advocacy, empowerment and autonomy. Services include crisis intervention and providing comprehensive information about appropriate counselling and care services, with which clients may be put in direct contact, if desired.

The helpline received 11,442 calls in 2014 and 10,843 calls in 2015.

Emergency Helpline for Children and Youth: Rat auf Draht (Advice on the line)- 147[125]

A telephone emergency helpline for children, youth and their caregivers for any and all topics relevant to children and youth – including the effects of violence. There is also online counselling and counselling by chatline.

The helpline operates around the clock and is free of cost. Counselling is confidential and may be anonymous by request, and is offered in accordance with the principles of advocacy, empowerment and autonomy. “147 Rat auf Draht” provides information about psycho-social facilities throughout Austria and can facilitate the first contact by means of a conference call, if desired.

The service is supported financially by a number of federal ministries, a large number of the federal states and by sponsors. The team is composed of psychologists, life coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists and a lawyer.

There were 1,999 calls related to violence in 2014.

fem:HELP-App

See Chapter 3.1.

3.6   Affected Children

In principle, the women-specific facilities mentioned here also provide services to children who have been affected directly or indirectly by violence insofar as staff and the necessary expertise are available. The opportunity to receive help together “under one roof” makes the situation easier to handle for mothers and their children as this avoids the need for additional appointments and the extra effort required to coordinate and source expertise when a separate aid facility is involved.

If this is not possible with the available professional resources, child welfare centres or other appropriate institutions, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, will be contacted. In all cases, child and youth welfare services will be involved, as is legally required.

Women’s shelters present an exceptional case. Children make up nearly half of the residents of women’s shelters. Subsequently staff members specially trained to work with children are employed in each women’s shelter. The AÖF also has a website[126] with age-appropriate information for children and youth about domestic violence and resources and facilities where they can seek help.

3.7   Reporting Acts of Violence

General Right of Disclosure

Anyone who becomes aware of a criminal offence having taken place has the right[127] to report this crime to the police or the public prosecutor’s office.

Public authorities and government agencies are required[128] to report a criminal offence to the police or the public prosecutor’s office if they have become aware of this offence in the course of their professional duties. An exception exists for those cases in which this awareness is the result of professional activity (teaching, for example) for which a relationship of mutual trust must be preserved.[129] Nevertheless, all reasonable efforts are to be made in these cases to ensure the safety of the victim or any other persons[130] and if necessary, to report the case after all.

Duty of Disclosure

Medical doctors[131]

Doctors must make a report to the police service if and when they suspect that grievous bodily harm or death is the result of a criminal offence. The same is required in cases in which it is suspected that an adult with impaired decision-making capacity or a minor has been physically abused, emotionally abused, neglected or sexually abused.

When premeditated grievous bodily harm is suspected, doctors are also required to make a referral to victim protection facilities.

There is one exemption in cases involving minors. A prompt and verifiable report must be made in every case to the appropriate child and youth welfare service. If, however, suspicion exists that the guilty party is a close family member[132], the report to the police service may be delayed for as long as is necessary to provide first for the safety and welfare of the child and/or to coordinate with the child and youth welfare service and, if necessary, involve a hospital’s child protection division.

Members of the Nursing Professions[133]

Nurses must also report to the police service suspected cases of grievous bodily harm or death as a result of a criminal offence.

This duty to report cases of grievous bodily harm does not exist if the nurse’s relationship of mutual trust with the relevant individual would be compromised by such a report. Referrals should still be made to existing and accredited victim protection facilities in these cases.

Federal Child and Youth Support Act

Any and all listed facilities and individuals are legally required[134] to provide a written report to the child and youth welfare services of any suspected case of child endangerment.

3.8   Forensic Examination

Prompt documentation and careful gathering of evidence are key to ensuring that the preserved evidence will be admissible in court. Without quick evidence gathering and proper documentation of the injury, evidence is irretrievably lost.

Early evidence kits are available to ensure proper preservation of evidence, especially in the case of sexual violence. These evidence kits record traces of the criminal act taken during the initial medical care of the victim. They also contain a checklist, which provides a standardised procedure for the examination and especially the collection of evidence.

No overview is currently available regarding which early evidence kits and checklists are in circulation throughout Austria. Reference should be made here to the MedPol project and the injury documentation questionnaire and training courses developed as part of that project. For more information, see Chapter 2.4.

The following examination options currently exist:

§  Graz: A clinical forensic examination centre has been established at the Medical University of Graz. Documentation and preservation of evidence is carried out free of charge and without the need for an official police complaint to have been made. The evidence is kept for six months.

In addition, the “Klinisch-forensisches Netzwerk Steiermark” ( “Clinical Forensics Network Styria”) project ran from July 2013 to December 2014. As part of this project, “Assessment Points” were established to provide forensic examination of assault victims and to support doctors who had questions about forensic examination. The provision of training was an additional aspect of the project.

§  Innsbruck: The Innsbruck State Hospital worked together with the Medical University of Innsbruck to establish an outpatient clinic for assault victims. Documentation and preservation of evidence is carried out free of charge and without the need for an official police complaint to have been made. The evidence is kept for six months.

§  Forensic Medical Institute of Salzburg with Linz Satellite Location. Forensic examinations may be undertaken in the gynaecological outpatient clinic or the paediatric clinic. These are available at any time. Documentation and preservation of evidence is carried out free of charge and without the need for an official police complaint to have been made. The evidence is kept for two years.

§  Vienna: Documentation and preservation of evidence related to injuries is possible at some hospitals in Vienna, in particular at the AKH and at the Wilhelminenspital. The evidence is kept in the DNA laboratory for one year.

4                     Substantive Law

4.1   Legal framework

There are numerous legal regulations that are relevant to cases of (domestic) violence against women.

Austrian Criminal Code (StGB)

A number of statutory offences in the Austrian Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch - StGB) for protection of bodily, psychological and/or sexual integrity fit the stipulations in the Convention. For more on the clauses in detail, see Chapter 4.6. The included definitions are valid equally for women and men.[135]

Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO)

A number of clauses in the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure serve to ensure the protection of victims. This protection was expanded in an amendment that became effective on 1 June 2016. For more details, see Chapter 5.6.

Act on Protection Against Violence

The “Act on Protection Against Violence” (Gewaltschutzgesetz) came into effect on 1 May 1997 and has been amended several times.[136] It empowers the police to ban a person who threatens violence from entering the home in which the threatened person resides and to remove the threatening individual if they will not leave voluntarily.[137] For more see Chapter 5.2. The general principle of “whoever throws the punch, goes” allows the threatened person to remain in their familiar surroundings.

If longer-term protection is necessary, the person at risk may petition the court for an injunction[138]. An injunction may be sought without first obtaining a restraining order from the police, and vice versa. For more detailed information, see Chapter 5.3.

In each federal state there is a centre for protection against violence[139] – sometimes with regional satellite locations – to provide comprehensive support to people at risk. For more, see Chapters 3.4 and 5.2.

4.2   Special implementation measures

Police officers specially trained in protection against violence

There are around 480 officers in Austria who have been specially trained[140] to engage in what is termed “Responding to threatening individuals” (see Chapter 2.5) and work with victims to assess and recommend additional necessary (safety) measures. These conversations with victims usually take place 2 to 3 days after the first response.

Additional responsibilities of criminal courts

In larger public prosecutors offices, specially trained prosecutors are assigned to cases involving violence in the immediate social context (domestic violence, child abuse).[141]

Additional responsibilities of the courts

§  District courts[142]: Legal matters related to domestic violence and criminal cases involving sex offences are assigned to the same division of the court.

§  Courts of first instance[143]: Legal matters related to domestic violence are always referred to the same appellate court and sex offences are always assigned to the same division of the court.

§  Supreme Court (OGH): There is an expert committee on matters pertaining to family law that is also responsible for legal matters dealing with domestic violence.

Ordinance and code of practice in cases of forced marriage

In dealing with cases of forced marriage, Austrian representatives abroad must comply with  both an ordinance and a code of practice.

4.3   Civil remedies

Temporary injunctions as part of the Act on Protection Against Violence

For more on temporary injunctions to protect against violence or invasions of privacy, see Chapter 5.3.

Civil proceedings for omission and/or damages

The Austrian Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) provides procedural rules specific to victims of violence. Victims are entitled to psychosocial assistance[144], and have a right to non-disclosure of their private address[145] and the right to separate examination[146].

4.4   Compensation for damages

Court proceedings to determine the extent of compensation for damages may be undertaken in criminal or civil courts.

Private parties joining a criminal proceeding

Victims of violent criminal offences are eligible to join criminal proceedings as private parties with an assertion of a claim for damages in so-called adhesion procedure. In contrast to  civil proceedings, criminal proceedings do not require such private parties to have legal counsel and there are no additional costs for the private parties.

Victims have the following rights as private parties[147]:

§  to apply for the admission of evidence;

§  to continue the case as a subsidiary prosecutor;

§  to raise objections to a dismissal of the case;

§  to file an appeal based on private law claims;

For more on opportunities for legal and psychosocial assistance, see Chapter 5.5.

Civil action

Civil actions incur court fees and there is a requirement for legal counsel once a certain financial threshold is passed.  People with limited income are able to apply for legal aid, in which case they need pay only part or none of the costs for the civil action. For more on the possibility of free psychosocial assistance, see Chapter 5.5.

Austrian Victims of Crime Act (Verbrechensopfergesetz – VOG)

Victims of violence[148] have a right to assistance under VOG insofar as these payments are not provided as a result of other entitlements.

Possible benefits include in particular:

§  Compensation for loss of earnings, the provision of medical aids, psychotherapeutic treatment and crisis intervention.

§  Lump-sum settlement as compensation for pain and suffering in the case of grievous bodily harm (2,000 or 4,000 euro) and bodily harm with serious long-term repercussions (8,000 or 12,000 euro).

Compensation may also be awarded to surviving dependents (especially loss of financial dependency, funeral payments).

The VOG provides for an annual fund of about 4 million euro from which compensation may be paid. Around 1,200 applications for compensation were made each year in 2014 and 2015. Applicants were evenly divided by gender. The majority of awards were one-time payments (for therapy costs, for example). Ongoing payments were awarded in about 150 cases (compensation for loss of earnings, for example). About 30% of female applicants were victims of bodily harm and around 70% victims of sexual violence.

4.5   Custody and visitation rights

Child welfare

Protecting children against violence is a fundamental criterion in all decisions regarding custody and visiting rights. The obligation to consider child welfare above all else is even established as a norm in constitutional law.[149] Accordingly, the welfare of the child is considered preeminent in all instances involving minors, particularly cases involving custody and personal contact, and all possible efforts must be made to guarantee well-being[150]. Protecting the child from abuse or violence and/or witnessing violence towards an important caregiver is a key criterion in these cases.

Supervised visitation

Supervised visitation[151] for meetings between the child and the non-custodial parent may be arranged upon application or by the court itself when warranted by concerns about the child’s welfare. See more in Chapters 1.5 and 2.4.

4.6   Sanctioning violent acts

Psychological abuse

The following definitions are relevant in cases of psychological abuse. The wording of the law for selected offences can be found in the annex ‘Selected legal clauses’.

§  (Grave) coercion, § 105f of the Austrian Criminal Code (StGB): Anyone who compels another by means of violence or menacing threat to commit an act, acquiescence or omission is considered to have perpetrated this offence. The basic offence is punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to 720 times the daily rate. A case of grave coercion (§ 106 of the StGB), which includes keeping the victim under distressful conditions for an extended time period, is subject to a prison sentence of between six months and five years. If suicide is a result, the prison sentence may be between one and ten years.

§  Menacing threat, § 107 StGB:  As of 1 January 2016, the definition includes not only injuries to the body, liberty, honour or property, but also threats that violate privacy by means of providing access to, disclosing or publishing facts or pictures. The threat is a punishable offence if the offender wilfully seeks to alarm and unsettle the victim. The threat can also be directed against third parties who are close to the threatened individual. The basic offence is punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to 720 times the daily rate. Aggravating circumstances may increase the prison sentence up to three years. If the act leads to the victim’s suicide, the resultant prison sentence is between one and ten years.

§  Bodily harm § 83 (1) of the StGB: This offence includes bodily harm and damage to health. Damage to health is understood to include provoking the onset or causing the aggravation of an illness, both physical and mental. In both cases, it is presumed that the circumstances are clinically significant from a medical perspective.

§  Continued harassment by means of telecommunications or a computing system, § 107c of the StGB: This new definition, created with the Criminal Law Amendment Act (Strafrechtsänderungsgesetz) of 2015 and in effect since 1 January 2016, also commonly called “cyber-bullying”, protects against insults or the disclosure of intimate facts or images on the internet that would unreasonably impair the victim’s quality of life[152]. The basic offence is punishable by a prison sentence of one year or a fine equivalent to 720 times the daily rate. In the case of a victim committing or attempting suicide, a prison sentence of up to three years is permitted.

Stalking

§  Criminal offence of stalking, § 107a of the StGB: An individual who illegally and persistently pursues another person is subject to a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine up to 720 times the daily rate. It is necessary for the identified instances of stalking[153] to have taken place over a significant period of time and that these serve to unreasonably impair the victim’s quality of life.

§  Temporary injunctions for protection against invasion of privacy[154]: Victims of stalking may petition for a temporary injunction in their local civil court regardless of whether a criminal complaint has been made. The court can thereby specify a number of prohibited actions[155], including a comprehensive ban on contact. In principle this applies for a maximum of one year, but it can be extended under certain circumstances. If the offender violates the order, a financial penalty of up to 500 euro may be applied. The offender may be arrested if there are repeated violations.

§  Support at violence protection centres: If it is deemed necessary for the protection of the victim, the police may involve the relevant centre for protection against violence, which will remain in continual active contact with the person at risk. Those affected can also access the support services of these centres at any time and regardless of whether any injunction has been issued. For more information, see Chapter 5.2.

Physical violence

The Austrian Criminal Code penalises offences against the person, and includes specific clauses on premeditated murder and offences causing bodily harm. A person who has committed murder[156] will be subject to a prison sentence of between ten and twenty years or a life sentence; manslaughter[157] is punishable by a sentence of five to ten years. The basic offence of bodily harm carries a sentence of up to one year. Aggravating factors (e.g. serious long-term complications or bodily harm resulting in death) may increase the sentence from one year to as much as fifteen years.

Continued use of force

Continued use of force, § 107b of the Austrian Criminal Code, provides for the consideration of acts of violence (e.g. abuse, physical violence, menacing threats) that occur over a sustained time period – which is often the case with domestic violence – as a whole and to punish them more severely. The basic offence is punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years.

These factors include, amongst others, cases in which the offender assumes total control over the victim’s own actions and behaviour or severely curtails the victim’s autonomy. Aggravating circumstances may increase a prison sentence to between six months and five years or between ten and twenty years.


Sexual violence

The Austrian Criminal Code penalises offences against sexual integrity and autonomy.

When assessing whether a sex offence has been committed, it is generally irrelevant whether the victim resisted or not. This is also true in those offences involving violence, threats or false imprisonment. The fact that a victim did not resist may never be taken as an indicator or offered as evidence that the offender did not use violence.[158]

These clauses apply to all persons, including spouses and domestic partners. An offence against family members, including former spouses and domestic partners, is to be considered an aggravating factor[159].

Individuals over the age of 14 are legally competent to consent to sexual acts. This is true unless a situation exists in which the individual is considered particularly vulnerable. In those cases in which the victim is, for ascertainable reasons, not yet mature enough to understand the significance of the actions or make decisions about these, the age of consent is 16[160], and in cases involving exigency, remuneration[161] and certain cases of the abuse of authority[162], the age of consent is 18.

§  Rape, § 201 of the StGB, is defined as taking place when someone has coerced a person by means of violence, threats with immediate danger to body and health, or false imprisonment to engage in sexual intercourse or other comparable sexual acts. The victim’s volition is violated by the use of physical violence, menacing threats or false imprisonment. The basic offence is punishable by a prison sentence of between one and ten years. In cases resulting in death, the offence may be punishable by a life sentence. An offence committed within the family, including (ex-)partners, is considered an aggravating factor[163].

§  Sexual assault, § 202 of the StGB, is defined as taking place when someone has coerced a person to engage in sexual acts by means of violence or menacing threats. The punishment for commission of the basic offence is a prison sentence between six months and five years. Aggravating circumstances (death) can lead to a life sentence.

§  Sexual abuse of a defenceless person or person with mental impairment, § 205 of the StGB, is defined as taking place when someone has engaged in sexual intercourse or sexual acts equivalent to such or other forms of sexual activity with a defenceless person or a person with a mental impairment that limits their ability to understand their actions and their legal capacity. This offence is punished similarly to rape and sexual assault. A person is defined as defenceless if their mental or physical condition leaves them unable to exercise volition or it would be unreasonable to expect them to do so. The following are examples of circumstances that make it impossible for an individual to articulate their lack of consent or that essentially constitute immobility: mental impairment, severe emotional disturbance, intoxication, being asleep or sleep inertia, severe shock, tonic immobility, enthrallment, paraplegia.

§  Violation of sexual integrity, § 205a of the StGB, is understood to have taken place when someone has engaged in sexual intercourse with a person, or sexual acts equivalent to such, against that person’s will or through coercion or as a result of intimidation. This clause became effective on 1 January 2016. It is punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years. Ignoring a person’s will is itself a form of sexual violence and does not require the use of (additional) violence, menacing threats or any other form of coercion.

ž   Against the victim’s will: It may also be the case that the victim implies refusal of sexual acts, by crying, for example.

ž   Exploitation of exigencies on the part of the victim: A financial emergency, homelessness or addiction may all constitute exigencies that seem to present the victim with no choice. An additional example would be the threat of danger to loved ones. A customer seeking sexual services could also be liable for a criminal offence, for example, if he knows that the person is a victim of human trafficking.

ž   Intimidation: This includes physical and/or psychological factors that are meant to provoke fear in the victim and may take place well before the time the criminal offence is committed. This could be witnessing violence against a third party, for example, which the victim takes to imply the same will be done against them, or direct actions taken against the victim to create the impression that resistance would be pointless.

Forced marriage

A new category of offence, forced marriage, came into effect on 1 January 2016. This was previously considered a case of severe coercion.

Forced marriage, § 106a of the StGB, is considered as occurring when someone requires a person to enter into marriage or civil partnership by means of violence or through menacing threats, or the threat of separation from family members. This is punishable by a prison sentence of between six months and five years.

Coercion into a marriage-like contract (ritual or religious marriage not recognised by the government) remains a case of severe coercion – with the same relevant sentences.

Enticing a person to another country for the purposes of forced marriage is an equally punishable offence.

Genital mutilation

Forms of female genital mutilation fulfil the definition of bodily harm under Austrian law[169]. This generally results in an aggravated form of deliberate bodily harm (infertility, for example, and/or significant mutilation) that is punishable by a prison sentence of one to fifteen years. Consent is not relevant in these cases.[170] Forcing a victim to give consent meets the legal definition of severe coercion.

Forced termination of pregnancy

Termination of pregnancy without the consent of the pregnant mother, § 98 of the StGB, is considered as occurring if a woman’s pregnancy is terminated without her consent. This is punishable by a prison sentence between six months and five years.

Forced sterilisation

Under Austrian law forced sterilisation constitutes an act of bodily harm[171]. This generally results in an aggravated form of deliberate bodily harm (infertility) that is punishable by a prison sentence of one to fifteen years. Consent is not relevant in these cases.

Consent to sterilisation is legally possible only to a limited extent[172]. Consent on the part of minors or their parents is impermissible in all cases.

Sexual harassment

Individuals are protected against sexual harassment in Austria under criminal law as well as labour and civil law (see Chapter 2.9).

Sexual harassment and public sexual acts, § 218 of the StGB, is defined as

ž  a situation in which a person commits a sexual act against or in front of another person such that the latter feels harassed – provided circumstances warrant the reasonableness of this response

ž  a situation in which an individual purposefully touches a person on an intimate area of the body (for example the buttocks or thigh) such that the victim feels violated

ž  a situation in which a person engages in public sexual activity in a way that creates a reasonable sense of offence

This is punishable by a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine up to 360 times the daily rate. With the exception of public sexual activity, the perpetrator may only be prosecuted if the victim presses charges.

4.7   Abetment

Treating all involved parties as offenders, § 12 of the StGB: Anyone who incites another to commit an offence or abets the offence in other ways will be subject to punishment along with the direct offender.

4.8   Attempt

Culpability in the case of attempt, § 15 of the StGB: An attempt to commit an offence is as equally punishable as an offence carried out to completion. The same holds for abetment of an attempt.

4.9   Justification and grounds of excuse

An exception from culpability for the offences stipulated in the Austrian Criminal Code is only possible within the narrow limits of justification and grounds for excuse. Grounds for justification such as "honour" or "customary law" are not enshrined in the criminal law and cannot therefore result in impunity.

4.10        Privilege

There are no privileges for the purposes of the crimes covered by the Convention which would be dependent on the relationship with the victim. The last privilege of domestic violence was eliminated with the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2006 when the requirement for authorisation in the event of dangerous threats in the family circle was abolished.

4.11        Criminal threats and further measures

See the preceding Chapter with regard to criminal threats. Separate minimum penalties are provided in the event of criminal acts using violence or dangerous threats against minors.[173]

If an offender is released on probation or a custodial sentence or fine is conditionally suspended, then the Court has the option of issuing instructions and imposing probationary supervision measures for the duration of the probation.

For sex offenders the probationary period is five years for custodial sentences of more than one year[174] and these offenders may be required to undergo more intensive supervision and controls.[175]

4.12        Aggravating factors

The aggravating factors correspond in part with the qualifications for the individual elements of the offence[176], and there are also separate elements in existence in some cases[177]. There is also a demonstrative list of aggravating factors provided under Special Aggravating Factors, § 33 StGB. The Court is therefore permitted to assume additional aggravating factors. The following aggravating factors are of particular relevance in association with the violent acts recorded: Violent acts

§  against family members and/or (ex-)partners, if the offender was living with the victim at the time of the act or abused a position of authority in relation to the victim

§  against a minor or against a person close to them in a way that is perceptible to the minor

§  against an individual requiring special protection as a result of particular circumstances while exploiting their needs for special protection

§  on racist, xenophobic or other particularly objectionable grounds

§  in a manner that is malicious or cruel or distressful for the victim

§  using extraordinarily high levels of violence

§  using weapons.

4.13        Diversion

The public prosecutor has the authority to apply a diversionary (non-custodial) sentence with imposition of conditions in the preliminary proceedings while the Court makes this decision in the main court proceedings. Diversion is possible in criminal proceedings under the following conditions[178]:

§  The offender's culpability is at a low level and

The following diversionary measures are possible:

§  Provision of community services[180]

§  Probation for a specified period with or without other obligations[181] or

§  Mediation between offender and victim[182]: the decision to take part in (diversionary) mediation is a voluntary one for both the accused and the victim.

There are no mandatory alternative settlement procedures provided for in the civil courts.

4.14        Police complaint and conviction statistics

An analysis is attached of the  Federal Ministry of Justice statistics for 2014 and 2015 on cases and convictions concerning female victims with regard to relevant offences. This analysis was created specifically for the Austria Report with assistance from the Austrian Federal Computing Centre. See annex "Federal Ministry of Justice Statistics for 2014 and 2015 on number of cases and convictions ".

There are no specific data available on cases where children of the women affected by violence died.

5                     Prosecution, procedural law and protective measures

5.1   Criminal investigation

Offences prosecuted ex officio

The criminal acts covered by the Istanbul Convention are uniformly offences subject to public prosecution and must be prosecuted ex officio by the public prosecutor's office. Such offences can be reported by any individual who has knowledge of them - and the report may not be withdrawn.

Once the public prosecutor's office is aware then a criminal investigation must be launched in order to clarify the facts surrounding the initial suspicion[183]. A criminal investigation must take place against unknown offenders or the suspect for as long as a person is actually suspected of having committed a crime based on certain facts. After this time it takes place as a criminal investigation into this person as the accused. The criminal investigation is carried out jointly by criminal investigators and the public prosecutor's office, with the public prosecutor's office taking the lead[184] and the Court is responsible for legal supervision in the interests of legal protection.

The criminal proceedings must be carried out expeditiously[185] and the rights and interests of the victims (including the right to respect their utmost privacy) must be reasonably taken into account with their personal dignity also safeguarded[186].

Imprisonment on remand

The accused may be required to be taken into custody in order to protect victims adequately from violent acts. If there are grounds for imposing custody during the investigation, including the risk of committing a (further) crime, then custody pending trial may be imposed if this is proportionate and the purpose of the custody cannot be achieved through more lenient means[187]. More lenient means in cases of domestic violence could be instructions to the accused not to enter a particular dwelling and its immediate vicinity, combined with a pledge on his part to refrain from making any contact with the victim.

5.1   Risk analysis and risk management

Specialised support facilities

The central task of violence-specific support facilities is to develop a plan for safety and security together with the parties affected, to adapt this on an ongoing basis, and to cooperate in this with the police and judicial system as required. See also Chapter 3.4.

Police risk assessment tool - SALFAG

A standardised risk assessment tool has been developed by psychologists at the Federal Ministry of the Interior for cases of violence in the private sphere (SALFAG). This tool has a similar basis to internationally recognised risk assessment tools with due regard to the specific situation under Austrian law.

Following a trial run in the federal states of Vienna, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg in 2014, the tool was evaluated and developed further in 2015 before being introduced and released in 2016.

Public prosecutors with special training

In larger public prosecutors’ offices, one or more specially trained prosecutors are assigned to cases involving violence in immediate social context (domestic violence, child abuse). Public prosecutors undergo internal training, based on a best practice model, in how to gain as comprehensive an overview as possible of the overall situation. The crucial point here is to determine the prehistory and objective principles which ensure as reliable an assessment as possible on the future situation, particularly as regards evaluation of the risk presented by the accused.

In addition to questioning all of the available witnesses wherever possible (including in particular those not directly involved in the case), and gaining the perceptions of the police officers working with the accused, any previous criminal acts, interim injunctions, restraining orders[188], bans on weapons and the offender's personal situation all also form a crucial basis for assessment.

Cooperation in high-risk cases - MARAC

So-called MARACs were implemented for the first time in 2011 by the Vienna Domestic Abuse Intervention Centre working in conjunction with the Vienna  Provincial Police Directorate (LPD Wien) as part of a pilot project. MARAC stands for Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences and signifies a model for protecting victims at high risk of family violence. The aim is to implement specific actions quickly in order to increase safety levels for victims through close and regular collaboration between different institutions working in the area of family violence. All of the information required for safety and security purposes is exchanged initially in regular meetings, before targeted actions aimed at protecting victims are decided.

These were gradually expanded in Vienna, with MARACs set up in a region each in Lower Austria and Tyrol in 2014, and in a further 6 districts of Vienna in 2015.

There were also 5 training sessions held as part of the "Living Free of Violence" campaign, as well as an information day, and guidelines were created for the implementation of   "Living Free of Violence" MARACs - preventing femicide and serious violence: "Partnerships against Violence guidelines”[189].

Victim protection-oriented work with offenders

The goal of working with offenders to protect victims is to teach offenders to "unlearn" their violent conduct. This serves to reduce the risk directly, see also Chapter 2.5.

5.2   Restraining and eviction orders

Statutory regulations

The regulations on restraining and eviction orders can be found in § 38a of the Security Police Act (SPG).

The police have the authority to forbid the person posing the threat from entering a residence and its immediate vicinity and to evict the person posing the threat in the event that it refuses to leave the residence. They may use force if necessary. This is conditional upon the fact that it can be assumed based on certain facts (such as previous violent acts) that a person living in the dwelling is threatened with a dangerous assault which represents a risk to life, health or liberty.

Protection is provided to all individuals living in the residence, irrespective of the relevant relationships or ownership (wife, life partner, children, relatives, as well as sub-tenant, flatmate, etc.).

Any individual who represents a risk may be subject to a restraining order - including e.g. the owner of the dwelling as well as an ex-partner who "turns up" at the dwelling.

The police give the person who poses the threat sufficient time to pack urgently needed personal items and then order the person posing the threat to leave the dwelling. If it does not comply with this order then this may be ensured by the use of force. The keys to the residence are confiscated from the person who poses the threat and it is ordered to provide an address to which judicial correspondence may be sent.

The restraining order applies to the residence and its immediate vicinity (e.g. stairwell, entrance, garden, underground garage). If a minor is (also) at risk, then the person who poses the threat is also prohibited from having any access to any institutional child care, school or after-school centre visited by this person (including a radius of 40 metres).

The police stipulate the actual geographical protection area in such a way that guarantees effective protection and notify the person who poses the threat of this.

The restraining order is imposed for two weeks and compliance is monitored by the police within the first three days. If an application is made to the courts for an interim injunction aimed at ensuring protection against violence in residential dwellings within these two weeks (see Chapter 5.3 below) then the police restraining order is extended to four weeks. This gives the courts time to decide on the application and enables continuous protection for the person at risk.

While the restraining order is in place the person who poses the risk may not enter the dwelling or stipulated protection area, including with the consent of the person at risk. If the person who poses the risk does still attempt to do this then he is committing an administrative offence punishable with a penalty of up to 500 euro. He can also be arrested if he continues to ignore the order. If he threatens or injures the person at risk then he is also prosecuted.

Statistics

A total of 7,587 restraining orders were imposed in Austria in 2014. These are broken down by region as follows:

Restraining order with extended protection area

Restraining order without extended protection area

Burgenland

33

121

Carinthia

37

364

Lower Austria

131

1,102

Upper Austria

159

805

Salzburg

40

351

Styria

71

684

Tirol

34

410

Vorarlberg

19

262

Vienna

238

2,726

In 2014 there were 176 reports to the police for failure to comply with restraining orders in accordance with § 84 (1) no. 2 of the Austrian Security Police Act.

Support through violence protection centres

Violence protection centres (see also Chapters 3.4 and 4.1) are statutory[190] facilities funded by the government which specialise in providing comprehensive support to victims of domestic violence and stalking.

If a restraining order is imposed by the police then the latter notify the local violence protection centre responsible immediately. The violence protection centre then contacts the person at risk and actively offers its support. The offer ranges from preparing a safety plan to providing legal advice (e.g. on applying for an interim injunction) through to psychosocial support, see also Chapter 5.5.

The police is also able to notify the violence protection centre in cases of stalking and the person at risk is actively contacted without delay in these cases also. Individuals affected by domestic violence or stalking may of course also contact a violence protection centre directly, i.e. without prior intervention by the police.

5.3   Interim injunctions

If a person at risk requires longer-term protection from the person posing the threat then there is an option for applying for an interim injunction from the district court with jurisdiction for the residential location of the person at risk.

These applications may be submitted irrespective of whether a report has been made to the police or a restraining order has been imposed. They can also be submitted without the involvement of a lawyer and are free of charge.

Employees at violence protection centres, women's shelters and counselling centres for women and girls can also provide legal advice, see Chapter 5.5.

The person at risk has the right to be accompanied by a trusted individual for questioning before the Court.

If an interim injunction is granted, then this can also be officially enforced immediately by the police notified of the interim injunction, and they are required to establish the situation corresponding with an interim injunction using direct authority and force.

If the person who poses the risk ignores an interim injunction then he is committing an administrative offence punishable with a penalty of up to 500 euro. He can also be arrested if he continues to ignore the order.

Prohibitory injunctions can also be asserted under civil law independently of any interim injunction.

Interim injunction for “Protection against violence in residential dwellings", § 382b of the Enforcement of Judgments Act (EO)

It the person at risk can no longer be expected to continue living together with the person presenting the threat, either because it has physically attacked or threatened to attack the person at risk or has caused it significant psychological harm, then the person at risk can apply for an interim injunction for “protection against violence in residential dwellings”. This also requires that the relevant dwelling is urgently required by the person.

In this case the Court may

§  order the person presenting the threat to leave the dwelling and its immediate vicinity and

§  forbid him from returning to the dwelling and its immediate vicinity.

This interim injunction may be granted for a maximum of 6 months. However, an application can be made for an interim injunction until the end of any of the proceedings listed in the Act which are initiated in this period.

Interim injunction for “General protection against violence", § 382e EO

It the person at risk can no longer be expected to meet with the person presenting the threat, either because it has physically attacked or threatened to attack the person at risk or has caused it significant psychological harm, then then the person at risk can apply for an interim injunction for general protection against violence. This also requires that the application is not contrary to the serious interests of the person posing the threat. The person does not need to have ever lived with the person posing the threat as a condition for this.


In this case the Court may

§  forbid the person posing the threat from remaining at certain locations, to be stipulated precisely (e.g. the workplace of the person at risk, the children's school or nursery), and

§  order the person posing the threat to avoid meeting or making contact with the person at risk.

This interim injunction may be granted for a maximum of 1 year and extended for a maximum of one further year if the person posing the threat breaches it. In the event of a concurrent application for an interim injunction "Protection against violence in apartments" and the commencement of any of the related proceedings provided by law (such as divorce proceedings), the interim injunction for the "General protection against violence" can also cover the period up to the termination of those proceedings.“”

However, the person at risk may also bring a civil action to cease and desist from any meeting. The interim injunction can be extended in this case also until a decision is reached by the Court.

Interim injunction for “Protection against invasion of privacy”, § 382g EO

An interim stalking injunction can be considered under certain conditions, see Chapter 4.6 for a detailed description. However, a barring order cannot be extended to four weeks if it was followed only by an application for a stalking injunction.

5.4   Official proceedings

Austrian criminal proceedings are based on the principles of official procedures[191], objectivity and researching the truth[192] and the principles of mandatory prosecution. [193]

The following distinction must however be made regarding the particular features of some crimes and offences:

§  Offences prosecuted ex officio: The criminal prosecution is officially brought by the public prosecutor's office (all crimes covered by the Convention with the exception of sexual harassment).

§  Offences prosecutable on complaint: The public prosecutor's office only brings the prosecution if the victim authorises it to do so. However, the public prosecutor's office still takes the initiative for the prosecution in these cases. With these crimes the investigation and prosecution therefore does not depend entirely on a report or complaint by the victim. Of the crimes recorded this only relates to sexual harassment.

§  Private prosecution offences: Criminal proceedings are only launched if the person affected brings a private prosecution complaint (e.g. for defamation or breach of the privacy of correspondence). This does not relate to any of the offences covered in the Convention.

The principle of public prosecution requires the criminal investigators and public prosecutor's office to officially clarify any initial suspicion brought to their knowledge in a criminal investigation - this applies equally to offences prosecuted ex officio and offences prosecutable on complaint. There is no examination here as to whether the criminal prosecution is in the public interest. The proceedings must be continued even if the victim revokes the statement. Any withdrawal by the victim of their complaint is therefore insignificant in this respect.

5.5   Court assistance

Victims who are entitled to court assistance must be alerted of this right upon initial contact with the police or the court.

Court assistance is always free of charge to the victim, irrespective of how the criminal or civil trial ends.

In the event of a conviction (in criminal proceedings) the person sentenced may be required to reimburse the costs for an amount up to 1,000 euro. If the accused is found not guilty then the state pays the costs. In civil proceedings, following a final decision on the dispute the Court must require the opponent to reimburse the federal government for the amounts incurred for the psychosocial court assistance, provided that the costs for the legal dispute are awarded against the opponent or the latter has assumed these in any settlement.[194]

Court assistance in criminal proceedings

All victims of violence, serious threats and sexual offences are entitled to free psychosocial and legal court assistance[195]. Also close relatives of a person killed as part of criminal offence along with other relatives who witnessed the act are entitled to court assistance.

Private parties involved in proceedings (see Chapter 4.4) are entitled to assistance with proceedings in the form of free legal advice under certain conditions, unless they are entitled to legal court assistance anyway.

Court assistance consists of two support components ("dual court assistance”):

§  psychosocial court assistance: preparation of the victim for the criminal proceedings and the associated emotional strains, including psychosocial support, during and after interrogation by the police and courts

§  legal court assistance: legal advice and representation before the court by lawyers

Court assistance usually begins with the reporting of the offence, or earlier in some exceptional cases, such as with advice related to reporting the offence.

In the interests of smooth application in practice the Federal Ministry of Justice appoints appropriate victim support organisations to implement the court assistance and pays their expenses. The website www.justiz.gv.at/prozessbegleitung provides a current overview of all court assistance organisations funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice with their relevant contact details.

The enclosed table provides information on the figures for the victims receiving psychosocial and legal court assistance in 2014 and 2015 by the individual organisations as well as the amounts incurred by the Federal Ministry of Justice, see annex "Court assistance 2014 and 2015".

Court assistance in civil proceedings

Psychosocial court assistance is also possible in civil proceedings if these are linked to criminal proceedings. This relates in particular to civil proceedings which involve claims for damages, divorces, and potentially also custody and visitation rights.

Unlike in criminal cases, there is no entitlement to legal court assistance in civil proceedings. Representation by a lawyer free of charge is therefore only available if the conditions for granting legal aid are present.

5.6   Victims' rights

Victims of crime must be treated with dignity and respect by all bodies involved in criminal proceedings (criminal investigators, public prosecutor's office, courts).

The role of the victim in criminal proceedings

Victims of crime are generally interrogated as witnesses in criminal proceedings. A trusted individual may be present in all cases of witness interrogation, and this is even mandatory in some cases, e.g. with witnesses under 14 years of age.

Witnesses summoned by the court or the public prosecutor's office or criminal investigators are under an obligation to obey this summons and answer questions truthfully on what they have seen, heard or experienced. Any false statement is a criminal offence (this includes intentionally maintaining silence on material facts or stating a lack of knowledge on facts which were in fact known).

If witnesses are expected to make statements against relatives or might expose themselves to the risk of criminal prosecution as a result of their statement, then they are entitled to refuse to make the statement (although they must still obey the summons). Any unexcused failure to appear as a witness may result in a fine or may result in arraignment by the police. Witnesses are entitled to witness fees.

Victims may declare their wish to waive any further pleas or summonses following notification at any stage of the criminal proceedings. The victim is then excused from any further involvement in the proceedings. However, if a victim is due to be interrogated as a witness and receives a summons to the main trial then they must obey this summons.

Victims may also join the proceedings as private parties, see Chapter 4.4.

Rights to information and translation

§  Obligation for criminal investigators, public prosecutor's office and courts to provide general information regarding victims' rights and compensation or other assistance[196]; victims in need of special protection must be notified of their victims' rights prior to their initial interrogation;

§  Obligation for criminal investigators and the public prosecutor’s office to provide concrete information regarding victims' fundamental rights[197], particularly regarding court assistance and the possibility of involvement as a private party;

§  Information regarding the release of the accused from custody and provisional custody during the investigation with details of the reasons and the conditions imposed as well as in the event of escape by the accused: this information must be provided officially to victims of violence or serious threat[198] and since 1 June 2016 also to victims in need of special protection[199][200]; the victims affected must be notified of this right by the time of their questioning at the latest[201];

§  Information on the escape and recapture as well as the first unmonitored release from the institution or on a pending or an actual release of the prisoner including any instructions given to him in order to protect the victim: this right is available upon application;[202]

§  Victims who are unable to communicate adequately in the language of the proceedings are entitled to translation or interpretation assistance[203]. This right not only includes oral interpretation but also written translation of essential case documents (including grounds for suspension, judgement);

Protection for witnesses in criminal proceedings

All bodies working on criminal proceedings must protect victims' identities for the purposes of witness and victim protection.[204]

§  During questioning any personal questions must be asked in such a way that the details provided are not made public wherever possible[205].

§  Image and sound recordings are prohibited during the hearing[206].

§  The accused and defence are prohibited from publishing personal data on other parties involved in the proceedings which has not yet been made public.[207]

§  In the event of a serious risk to the life, health, physical integrity or liberty of the witnesses, the witness statement can be made entirely anonymously[208], or any statement on the address or address of the workplace stated in oral questioning in the main trial can be omitted from the court record [209].

§  The court may order that the defendant leaves the courtroom temporarily during the questioning in the main trial[210].

§  The court may exclude any audience members from the entire or from part of the proceedings in certain cases[211].

Particularly vulnerable victims

Particularly vulnerable victims have additional rights in criminal proceedings. Particularly vulnerable victims include in all cases victims of sexual offences, underage victims and victims of violence in residential dwellings.

The need to extend special protection to victims is reviewed for all victims in the individual case. The following factors are taken into account: the age, mental and health status, as well as the type and specific circumstances of the criminal offence.

Particularly vulnerable victims may

§  request that the questioning of the witness in the criminal investigation[212] and in the main trial[213] take place in a separate room and be transmitted by video to the courtroom (adversary questioning). This type of questioning is mandatory for those under 18 years of age whose sexual integrity has been violated (until 1 June 2016 this only applied to those under 14 years of age). All witnesses who are required to make a statement against a relative may also request this type of questioning.

§  refuse to answer questions about details of the offence the description of which they consider unreasonable, or involving circumstances of utmost personal privacy[214];

§  ask to be questioned, if possible, by a person of the same gender during the investigation proceedings[215];

§  request that the public be excluded from the main hearing[216].

Other rights

Children

Special child protection agencies are appointed to provide court assistance for children in Austria. The specific option for separate and protective adversary questioning also allows children to be questioned without any direct confrontation with the accused, thereby taking into account the increased need to protect children as victims of crime.


6                     Migration and asylum

6.1   Residency status

Independent right of residence for the purposes of family reunification[221]

Foreigners who settle in Austria for the purposes of family reunification are entitled to an independent right of residency from the outset pursuant to the Settlement and Residence Act (NAG).

If the family membership no longer applies and the special condition for granting residency thereby also fails to apply, then continued residency is lawful if the general conditions for a further/different type of residency are met. The principal conditions include accommodation, sufficient income and health insurance coverage. The scope of the residence permit must be equal in all cases, particularly with regard to accessing the labour market.

If the individual has been affected by violence then a further residence permit must be granted even if the general conditions for a residence permit are not met.[222] The applicable regulations are equivalent for citizens of the EEA and preferential third country nationals.[223]

Right of residency with special protection for third country nationals

There are special provisions in place in the Asylum Act (Asylgesetz) for individuals who do not fall within the scope of the regulations of the NAG just described.

An independent, renewable residence permit ("residence permit with special protection") is provided for in cases where the right of residence is required to enable the prosecution of criminal acts before the courts or the assertion and enforcement of civil claims associated with such offences. This affects in particular witnesses or victims of human trafficking or international trade in prostitution.[224]

Victims of domestic violence may also receive this right of residency if a court has imposed an interim injunction for "protection against violence in residential dwellings" or "general protection against violence" or could have imposed such an injunction and the victim requires protection against further violence. [225] Any such award is not dependent upon whether a marriage or partnership has been dissolved or not.

The residence permit will be granted once a justified opinion has been received by the Austrian Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum from the criminal investigators which confirms the status as a victim[226]. Provision of this evidence requires a minimum level of cooperation between the victim and the police authorities.

Statistics

No statistics are kept on the frequency of the waivers of the issue conditions under the NAG in cases where an individual is affected by violence.

The following figures concern the awarding of "residency permits with special protection" for victims of domestic violence since the current law has been applicable: 2 awards in 2014 and 6 awards in 2015.

6.2   Asylum application based on gender

Sexual violence is defined as persecution for the purposes of the Asylum Act.[227] Sexual orientation and sexual identity may characterise a social group in the country of origin.[228]

No relevant statistics are kept.

6.3   Gender-sensitive asylum procedures

The fact that men and women are equal in Austria is made clear to all asylum seekers upon arrival in a federal support centre, in particular through information leaflets in their native language.

Advice and support from someone of the same gender

Female asylum seekers are guaranteed advice and support from people of the same gender throughout the entire asylum procedure. They also receive continuous information and advice on everyday, medical and legal issues, particularly on equality.

Women travelling alone are accommodated in separate buildings in the federal government's support facilities, with only women permitted access to these and only female support staff deployed there. Female security staff are deployed at the entrances to these buildings in order to guarantee safety and security.

Women travelling alone who have increased support needs and are exposed to particular strains on account of their current situation, such as traumatised women, single women with children, divorced or single women also receive professional psychological support and help with everyday matters.

They are also offered weekly workshops led by a female psychotherapist with a female psychologist and/or cultural and social anthropologist. The topics of these workshops include in particular the social position of women in the countries of origin, cultural and religious restrictions and attributions as compared with Austria, along with violence that women or children experience, with information on the legal fight against this along with practical protection options.

Professional development and training for employees at the Austrian Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum

Training programmes on the topics of traumatisation and interculturality are implemented at the Austrian Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum based on need, and at least once per year. One of the focuses here is on identifying and dealing with "groups of individuals requiring special protection".

Questioning by someone of the same gender

Victims who have had their sexual self-determination violated must be questioned by someone of the same gender following notification and consent from the victim.[229] Applications from asylum seekers for whom there is a high probability that they are victims of violence cannot be dismissed in advance and their particular needs must be taken into account.[230]

6.4   Prohibition of refoulement

The prohibition of refoulement is safeguarded several times in the laws pertaining to foreign nationals.[231] The situation in the country/region of origin is accordingly subject to a current and case-related analysis to the fullest possible extent. Special consideration is paid to women, in particular victims of violence.

6.5   Additional measures

Forced marriage

Residency

Neither partner is able to invoke forced marriage for the purposes of a residency permit under the Settlement and Residence Act.[232] However, the regulations stated under Chapter 6.1. apply in this case to the victim.


Recall of victims of forced marriage from abroad

In order to improve sensitivity and intervention options, training programmes were introduced in 2015 for consular staff with increased focus made on establishing support links (particularly with the police and aid organisations). The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs dealt with 7 cases of imminent or actual forced marriage in 2015.

See Chapter 3.4 on secure accommodation and counselling for women affected by violence.

Women on the run

Following an initiative from the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, a round table discussion with relevant aid organisations took place on 28 October 2015 in Vienna on the topic of "Women and girls on the run"; a second round table event on 13 April 2016 with further (female) experts addressed "Women on the run – societal challenges" .


7                     Annex


Annex „Statistics from the Federal Ministry of Justice for 2014 and 2015 on numbers of cases and convictions

Auswertung Verfahrensautomation Justiz

Number of cases reported to the Public Prosecutor

 

without "FAM"

with "FAM"

Total number of cases

Total number of male offenders

Total number of female victims

Criminal offences

Number of cases

Number of male accused persons

Number of female victims

Number of cases

Number of male accused persons

Number of female victims

2014

24504

27976

31711

4975

5053

5835

29479

33029

37546

75   Murder

60

69

111

6

6

7

66

75

118

83   Assault

10245

12218

12310

1963

1989

2216

12208

14207

14526

84   Serious Assault

767

966

1062

105

107

125

872

1073

1187

85   Assault occasioning grievous bodily harm

9

9

11

1

1

5

10

10

16

86   Assault causing death

4

5

4

4

5

4

87   Serious assault with direct intention

126

177

184

12

14

14

138

191

198

105  Coercion

2590

2838

3571

684

696

803

3274

3534

4374

106  Serious coercion

430

477

594

126

129

152

556

606

746

107  Dangerous threat

5152

5628

6631

1249

1262

1453

6401

6890

8084

107a Persistent stalking

1556

1606

1922

100

100

123

1656

1706

2045

107b Persistent use of force

459

472

603

465

468

563

924

940

1166

108  Deception

20

21

27

1

1

1

21

22

28

201  Rape

697

768

894

128

133

157

825

901

1051

202  Sexual coercion

207

243

306

8

8

10

215

251

316

205  Sexual absuse of a vulnerable or mentally impaired person

173

210

225

11

11

13

184

221

238

205a Violation of the right to sexual self-determination

1

1

2

1

1

2

206  Serious sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

286

341

452

34

37

57

320

378

509

207  Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

288

311

471

21

22

34

309

333

505

207a Pornographic depiction of minors

230

318

339

9

10

17

239

328

356

207b Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 16

44

48

72

44

48

72

208  Moral endangering of persons under the age of 16

129

130

280

4

6

7

133

136

287

208a Initiation of sexual contact to persons under the age of 14

47

50

85

47

50

85

211  Incest

18

18

26

7

7

12

25

25

38

212  Abuse of a position of authority

145

147

240

21

22

33

166

169

273

213  Procuring

2

3

6

2

3

6

214  Offering sexual contact with minors for sale

2

2

3

1

2

1

3

4

4

215  Pushing into prostitution

16

22

18

1

1

1

17

23

19

215a Supporting prostitution and pornographic depiction of minors

8

9

13

1

2

3

9

11

16

216  Pimping

51

63

73

5

5

9

56

68

82

217  Cross-border trafficking into prostitution

30

46

43

3

5

4

33

51

47

218  Sexual harassment and sexual acts performed in public

712

760

1133

9

9

15

721

769

1148

2015

24082

27373

31526

5156

5197

6151

29238

32570

37677

75   Murder

65

79

153

7

7

12

72

86

165

76   Manslaughter

1

1

1

1

1

1

83   Assault

10193

12118

12162

2010

2037

2317

12203

14155

14479

84   Serious assault

715

848

998

83

83

106

798

931

1104

85   Assault occasioning grievous bodily harm

6

6

8

6

6

8

86   Assault causing death

2

6

3

2

6

3

87   Serious assault with direct intention

118

167

183

13

13

17

131

180

200

105  Coercion

2617

2863

3579

668

671

794

3285

3534

4373

106  Serious coercion

471

532

694

144

144

182

615

676

876

107  Dangerous threat

4920

5353

6315

1297

1304

1514

6217

6657

7829

107a Persistent stalking

1368

1400

1612

116

117

137

1484

1517

1749

107b Persistent use of force

488

500

711

547

548

663

1035

1048

1374

108  Deception

22

25

32

22

25

32

201  Rape

737

826

1004

113

114

137

850

940

1141

202  Sexual coercion

181

206

332

10

10

16

191

216

348

205  Sexual abuse of a vulnerable or mentally impaired person

184

209

228

5

5

6

189

214

234

205a Violation of the right to sexual self-determination

1

1

1

1

1

1

206  Serious sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

293

320

432

32

33

58

325

353

490

207  Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

287

314

494

30

30

59

317

344

553

207a Pornographic depiction of minors

215

302

432

5

5

9

220

307

441

207b Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 16

39

40

134

2

2

3

41

42

137

208  Moral endangering of persons under the age of 16

119

121

264

12

12

17

131

133

281

208a Initiation of sexual contact to persons under the age of 14

46

48

165

1

1

1

47

49

166

211  Incest

22

22

24

7

7

17

29

29

41

212  Abuse of a position of authority

135

137

213

29

29

53

164

166

266

213  Procuring

1

1

1

1

1

1

214  Offering sexual contact with minors for sale

4

4

7

4

4

7

215  Pushing into prostitution

12

15

17

1

1

1

13

16

18

215a Supporting prostitution and pornographic depiction of minors

4

4

94

1

1

1

5

5

95

216  Pimping

38

55

68

4

4

7

42

59

75

217  Cross-border trafficking into prostitution

27

42

51

1

1

1

28

43

52

218  Sexual harassment and sexual acts performed in public

751

808

1114

18

18

23

769

826

1137

Auswertung Verfahrensautomation Justiz

Convicted male offenders

Criminal offences

with  "FAM"

without "FAM"

Total

2014

4749

952

5701

75   Murder

38

3

41

83   Assault

1729

284

2013

84   Serious assault

335

49

384

85   Assault occasioning grievous bodily harm

3

3

86   Assault causing death

1

1

87   Serious assault with direct intention

65

13

78

105  Coercion

607

155

762

106  Serious coercion

139

38

177

107  Dangerous threat

871

211

1082

107a Persistent stalking

216

23

239

107b Persistent use of force

95

95

190

108  Deception

4

4

201  Rape

133

30

163

202  Sexual coercion

38

4

42

205  Sexual abuse of a vulnerable or mentally impaired person

26

3

29

206  Serious sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

86

13

99

207  Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

83

11

94

207a Pornographic depiction of minors

53

2

55

207b Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 16

5

5

208  Moral endangering of persons under the age of 16

20

1

21

208a Initiation of sexual contact to persons under the age of 14

9

9

211  Incest

7

2

9

212  Abuse of a position of authority

56

13

69

214  Offering sexual contact with minors for sale

1

1

2

215  Pushing into prostitution

6

6

215a Supporting prostitution and pornographic depiction of minors

1

1

216  Pimping

12

12

217  Cross-border trafficking into prostitution

10

10

218  Sexual harassment and sexual acts performed in public

100

1

101

2015

4760

766

5526

75   Murder

39

5

44

76   Manslaughter

1

1

83   Assault

1750

240

1990

84   Serious assault

349

31

380

85   Assault occasioning grievous bodily harm

1

1

86   Assault causing death

2

2

87   Serious assault with direct intention

72

14

86

105  Coercion

633

112

745

106  Serious coercion

124

38

162

107  Dangerous threat

895

192

1087

107a Persistent stalking

191

23

214

107b Persistent use of force

102

69

171

108  Deception

4

4

201  Rape

111

28

139

202  Sexual coercion

36

1

37

205  Sexual abuse of a vulnerable or mentally impaired person

32

32

206  Serious sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

76

2

78

207  Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 14

61

2

63

207a Pornographic depiction of minors

55

1

56

207b Sexual abuse of persons under the age of 16

14

14

208  Moral endangering of persons under the age of 16

25

25

208a Initiation of sexual contact to persons under the age of 14

5

5

211  Incest

7

1

8

212  Abuse of a position of authority

48

4

52

214  Offering sexual contact with minors for sale

1

1

215  Pushing into prostitution

2

2

215a Supporting prostitution and pornographic depiction of minors

2

2

216  Pimping

13

1

14

217  Cross-border trafficking into prostitution

8

8

218  Sexual harassment and sexual acts performed in public

101

2

103


Annex „Selected legal clauses

Article 38a Security Police Act - Ban and expulsion from home for protection against violence

(1) If, based on certain facts, in particular because of a previous dangerous assault, it can be assumed that a dangerous assault on life, health or freedom is imminent, the members of the police force are authorised to prohibit a person who poses a danger (endangerer) from entering

  1. a dwelling where an endangered person lives as well as its immediate surroundings;
  2. and, if the endangered person is under the age of 14, furthermore from entering

a)       a school that the endangered person under the age of 14 attends to fulfil the requirements of compulsory education as provided in the Compulsory Education Act, Federal Law Gazette No. 76/1985, or

b)       an institutional childcare facility he/she attends, or

c)       a day nursery he/she attends

including an area within a radius of fifty meters.

(2) When the ban from home is in place, the members of the police force have to

  1. inform the endangerer of the premises to which the ban applies; the scope of the ban under para 1 subpara 1 shall be laid down in accordance with the requirements of effective preventive protection;
  2. expel him in case he refuses to leave the area included in the ban under para 1,
  3. remove all keys to the dwelling under para 1 subpara 1 from the endangerer which he has in his possession,
  4. give him the opportunity to take with him urgently required personal items and inform him of options for finding accommodation.

In the event of a ban on returning to his own dwelling, it is to be ensured in particular that this interference with the private life of the person affected respects proportionality (section 29). If it becomes necessary for the person affected to visit the dwelling which he has been prohibited from entering, he may only do so in the presence of a member of the police force.


(3) Members of the police force are obliged to request the endangerer to provide an address for the purpose of delivery of a suspension of the ban from home or of a restraining order under sections 382b and 382e of the Enforcement Act (EO). If he fails to do so, the service of such documents can be effected by deposit without a prior service attempt until such a disclosure is made; this shall be pointed out to the endangerer.

(4) The members of the police force are further obliged to inform

  1. the endangered person about the possibility of obtaining a restraining order under sections 382b and 382e EO and about appropriate victim protection facilities (section 25

para 3) and,

  1. if persons under the age of 14 are endangered, immediately

a)       the locally responsible child and youth welfare office pursuant to section 37 of the Federal Act on Child and Youth Services 2013 (B-KJHG 2013), Federal Law Gazette I No. 69, and

b)       the head of an institution pursuant to para 1 subpara 2 for which the ban has been imposed.

(5) When documenting the issue of a ban from home, not only the circumstances relevant for the intervention are to be considered but also those that may be of importance for a procedure under sections 382b and 382e EO or for the endangerment assessment pursuant to section 22 B-KJHG 2013 by the responsible child and youth welfare office.

(6) public security services shall immediately be informed of the issue of a ban from home and review it within 48 hours. If these authorities find that the ban from home should not have been issued, it shall be lifted immediately vis-à-vis the endangerer; the endangered person shall immediately be informed that the ban from home will be lifted; if possible, the ban from home shall be lifted and the endangered person shall be informed of the lifting verbally or in writing by personal delivery. The keys removed under para 2 shall be handed back to the endangerer after the lifting of the ban from home; in case of the filing of an application to impose a restraining order under sections 382b and 382e EO, they shall be deposited in the ordinary court.

(7) Insofar as a ban from home is issued also for the local jurisdiction of another security authority (sections 8 and 9), it shall immediately be notified. The enforcement that goes beyond the review of the ban from home (para 6) rests with the security authority having local jurisdiction.

(8) Members of the police force shall check compliance with the ban from home at least once during the first three days of its validity. The ban from home shall end two weeks after issue. If the ordinary court informs the security authority of the filing of an application to issue a restraining order under sections 382b and 382e EO within this period, the ban from home shall be extended until the date of service of the ordinary court's decision to the opponent, but no later than four weeks from the date of the placing of the ban. In case of a withdrawal of the application, the ban from home shall end two weeks after issue, in case of a withdrawal of the application after the extension of the ban from home has taken effect, it shall end as soon as the security authority learns of the withdrawal by notification received from the ordinary court.

(9) The ordinary court shall immediately notify the security authority having local jurisdiction of the filing of an application to issue a restraining order under sections 382b and 382e EO and the extent of the application as well as of any withdrawal.


Austrian Criminal Code, selected criminal offences

Coercion

§ 105. (1) Any person who coerces another to do, acquiesce, or omit to do an act by use of force or dangerous threat is liable for imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding 720 penalty units.

(2) The conduct is not unlawful if the use of force or threat, as a means for the intended purpose, does not offend common decency.

Serious coercion

§ 106. (1) Any person who coerces

  1. by making death threats or threats of serious mutilation or noticeable disfigurement, kidnapping, arson, nuclear power hazards, ionising radiation, explosives, or loss of livelihood or social status;
  2. by putting the coerced person or another person against which the use of force or dangerous threat is made into a state of agony through these means for a longer period of time; or
  3. by leading the coerced person into prostitution or to engage in a pornographic performance (§ 215a para. 3) or to commit another act, to acquiesce, or to omit the doing of an act which violates particularly important interests of the coerced person or another person

is liable to imprisonment for six months to five years.

(2) The perpetrator is liable to imprisonment for one to 10 years if the offence results in the suicide or a suicide attempt of the coerced person or of another person against which the force is used or the threat is made.

(3) The same penalty applies to any person who commits the coercion in order to lead a minor into prostitution or to engage in a pornographic performance, or who commits the coercion as part of a criminal association, by using serious violence, or in a manner which intentionally or with gross negligence (§ 6 para. 3) places the life of another at risk, or if the offence causes a particularly serious detriment to the other person.

Forced marriage

§ 106a. (1) Any person who coerces another into entering a marriage or registered partnership by using force or dangerous threat or by threatening to sever or deprive the person of family contact is liable to imprisonment for six months to five years.

(2) The same penalty applies to any person who, for the purpose of forcing the other person to enter into a marriage or registered partnership (para. 1) in a country of which the other person is neither a national nor a habitual resident, entices the other person by deceiving him or her about that purpose or coerces the other person by using of force or making a dangerous threat or a threat to sever or deprive of family contact to enter another country or who brings the other person into another country by use of force by or abusing the other person’s mistake about that purpose.

(3) § 106 para. 2 applies mutatis mutandis.

Dangerous threat

§ 107. (1) Any person who makes a dangerous threat to another in order to put the other person into a state of fear or anxiety is liable to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding 720 penalty units.

(2) Any person who makes a dangerous threat by making death threats or by threatening serious mutilation or noticeable disfigurement, kidnapping, arson, nuclear power hazards, ionising radiation, explosives, or loss of livelihood or social status, or by putting the threatened person or another person against which the force is used or the dangerous threat is made through these means into a state of agony for an extended period of time is liable to imprisonment for up to three years.

(3) For cases under § 106 para. 2 the penalties under that provision apply.

(Note :Para. 4 repealed by BGBl. I Nr. 56/2006.)

Persistent stalking

§ 107a. (1) Any person who unlawfully and persistently stalks (para. 2) another is liable to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding 720 penalty units.

(2) A person ‘persistently stalks’ another if the person continuously over an extended period and in a manner that can cause unreasonable interference with the lifestyle of the other person

  1. approaches the other person.
  2. contacts the other person by way of telecommunication or by use of other means of communication or through third parties,
  3. orders goods or service for the other person using the other person’s personal information, or
  4. using the other person’s personal information causes third parties to contact the other person.

(3) The perpetrator is liable to imprisonment for up to three years if the offence results in the suicide or a suicide attempt of the stalked person (para. 2).

Persistent use of force

§ 107b. (1) Any person who persistently and over an extended period of time uses force against another is liable to imprisonment for up to three years.

(2) For the purpose of para. 1, ‘use of force’ shall mean doing bodily harm to another or committing an intentional offence against limb and life or an offence against liberty, except for the offences under §§ 107a, 108, and 110.

(3) Any person who

  1. commits the offence [under para. 1] against a person under the age of 14 or against a person who is vulnerable because of frailty, illness or mental impairment, or
  2. through the offence [under para. 1] creates a situation of complete control over the behaviour of the victim or a significant limitation to the autonomous lifetsyle of the victim

is liable to imprisonment for six months to five years.

(4) Any person who commits an offence under para. 3 in a particularly cruel manner, or who within the context of persistently using force under para. 3 repeatedly commits offences against sexual self-determination and integrity is liable to imprisonment for one to 10 years. The person is liable to imprisonment for five to 15 years if the offence under para 3 results in an assault occasioning bodily harm (§ 85) or if the force under para. 3 is used persistently for more than one year; the penalty is 10 to 20 years if the use of force results in the death of the victim.

(5) A person is not punishable under the previous provisions if the offence is punishable under a provision with a higher penalty.

Persistent harassment involving telecommunication or computer systems

§ 107c. (1) Any person who, using a telecommunication or computer system in a manner that can cause unreasonable interference with the lifestyle of the other person, continuously over a longer period of time

  1. defames another in a way that can be perceived by a larger number of people, or
  2. makes facts or visual material of the personal sphere of another available to a larger number of people without the consent of the other person

is liable to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding 720 penalty units.

(2) The person is liable to imprisonment for up to three years if the offence results in the suicide or a suicide attempt by the victim under para. 1.

Deception

§ 108. (1) Any person who violates the rights of another for the purpose of causing a detriment to the other by deceiving the other person or a third person about material facts in order to cause the other person or the third person to do, acquiesce, or omit to do an act thus causing the detriment is liable to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding 720 penalty units.

(2) Sovereign rights are not considered rights for the purpose of para. 1.

(3) A person may only be prosecuted [for the offence under para. 1] with authorization by the person whose rights have been violated.

Rape

§ 201. (1) Any person who by use of force, deprivation of liberty, or threat with a present danger for limb or life (§ 89) coerces another to engage in or acquiesce to sexual intercourse or conduct equivalent to sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for one to 10 years.

(2) The person is liable to imprisonment for five to 15 years if the offence results in a serious assault (§ 84 para. 1) or pregnancy of the victim or if the victim is placed into a state of agony or is treated in a particularly humiliating way for a longer period of time; the person is liable to imprisonment for 10 to 20 years or imprisonment for life if the offence results in the death of the victim.

Sexual coercion

§ 202. (1) Any person who, except in cases under § 201, by use of force or dangerous threat coerces another to engage in or acquiesce to sexual conduct is liable to imprisonment for six months to five years.

(2) The person is liable to imprisonment for five to 15 years if the offence results in a serious assault (§ 84 para. 1) or pregnancy of the victim or if the victim is placed into a state of agony or treated in a particularly humiliating way for a longer period of time; the person is liable to imprisonment for 10 to 20 years or imprisonment for life if the offence results in the death of the victim.

Sexual abuse of a vulnerable or mentally impaired person

§ 205. (1) Any person [the perpetrator] who abuses the condition of a vulnerable person or a person who, because of mental impairment, pervasive disturbance of consciousness or another equivalent mental disturbance, is unable to understand the significance of the conduct or to act according to this understanding, so that the perpetrator may engage in sexual intercourse or conduct equivalent to sexual intercourse with that person, or induces the person to engage in or acquiesce to sexual intercourse or conduct equivalent to sexual intercourse with another person, or to perform an act equivalent to sexual intercourse on himself or herself in order to sexually arouse or satisfy the perpetrator or a third person, is liable to imprisonment for one to 10 years.

(2) Any person [the perpetrator] who, except in cases under para. 1, abuses a vulnerable or mentally compromised person (para. 1) by performing sexual acts on the other person, by having sexual acts performed on the perpetrator by the other person, by inducing the other person to engage in sexual acts with another person, or by inducing the other person to perform an act equivalent to sexual intercourse on himself or herself in order to sexually arouse or satisfy the perpetrator or a third person is liable to imprisonment for six months to five years.

(3) The person is liable to imprisonment for five to 15 years if the offence results in a serious assault (§ 84 para. 1) or pregnancy of the abused person or if the abused person is placed into a state of agony or treated in a particularly humiliating way for a longer period of time; the person is liable to imprisonment for 10 to 20 years or imprisonment for life if the offence results in the death of the abused person.

Violation of the right to sexual self-determination

§ 205a. (1) Any person who engages in sexual intercourse or conduct equivalent to sexual intercourse with another person by taking advantage of a predicament or after prior intimidation against that person’s will is liable to imprisonment for up to two years unless the offence is punishable with a higher penalty under another provision.

(2) The same penalty applies to any person who leads another in the manner set out in para. 1 to engage in or acquiesce to sexual intercourse or conduct equivalent to sexual intercourse with a third person or to perform an act equivalent to sexual intercourse involuntarily on himself or herself in order to sexually arouse or satisfy the perpetrator or a third person.

Sexual abuse of a person under the age of 16

§ 207b. (1) Any person [the perpetrator] who, performs a sexual act on a person under the age of 16 who, for particular reasons does not have the maturity to understand the significance of such an act or to act according to this understanding, or any person [the perpetrator] who has a sexual act performed on himself or herself by such a person or who induces such a person to perform a sexual act on a third person or to have a sexual act performed by a third person on that person, and takes advantage of the lack of maturity of that person and the age advantage of the perpetrator is liable to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding 720 penalty units.

(2) Any person who performs a sexual act on a person under the age of 18, or who has a sexual act performed on him or her by such a person or who induces such a person to perform a sexual act on a third person or to have a sexual act performed by a third person on that person, and takes advantage of a predicament of that person is liable to imprisonment for up to three years.

(3) Any person [the perpetrator] who through payment directly induces a person under the age of 18 to perform a sexual act on the perpetrator or on a third person or to have a sexual act performed on him or her by the perpetrator or a third person is liable to imprisonment for up to three years.


Abuse of a position of authority

§ 212. (1) Any person who engages in a sexual act with

  1. a minor with whom the person is related by descent, a minor who is the adopted child of the person, the person’s stepchild, or a minor under the guardianship of the person, or
  2. a minor who is being educated, trained, or supervised by a person abusing his or her position in relation to the minor,

who has a sexual act performed on the person by such a minor, or who induces such a minor to perform a sexual act on himself or herself in order to sexually arouse or satisfy the person or a third person is liable to imprisonment for up to three years.

(2) The same penalty applies to any person [the perpetrator] being

  1. a medical doctor, clinical psychologist, health psychologist, psychotherapist, member of a health and nursing profession, or chaplain, with a person in their professional care
  2. an employee of an educational institution or otherwise working in an educational institution with a person in the care of that institution, or
  3. a government official with a person placed in their official care

who by abusing their position towards that person engages in a sexual act, has a sexual act performed by that person on the perpetrator, or who induces such a person to perform a sexual act on himself or herself in order to sexually arouse or satisfy the perpetrator or a third person.

Sexual harassment and sexual acts done in public

§ 218. (1) Any person who harasses another by performing a sexual act

  1. on the other person, or
  2. in front of the other person in circumstances capable of causing reasonable offence

is liable to imprisonment for up to six months or a fine not exceeding 360 penalty units, unless the offence is punishable with a higher penalty by another provision.

(1a) A person is also liable under para. 1 if the person violates the dignity of another by intensive touching of a part of the body associated with sexual activity.

(2) The same penalty applies to any person who performs a sexual act publicly and in circumstances in which the direct perception of the person’s conduct is capable of causing reasonable offence.

(3) In cases under paras. 1 and 1a, the perpetrator may only be prosecuted with the authorization of the victim.


Annex „Police Crime Statistics 2014 and 2015“

Police Crime Statistics

 Police Crime Statistics

 Police Crime Statistics

 Reported Crimes

 Solved Crimes

 Percentage of crimes solved

 Clause

 2014

 2015

 Clause

 2014

 2015

 Clause

 2014

 2015

 § 75 StGB

             105  

                133  

 § 75 StGB

               96  

             130  

 § 75 StGB

91,4%

97,7%

 § 76 StGB

                 -  

                    1  

 § 76 StGB

                  -  

                 1  

 § 76 StGB

---

100,0%

 § 83 StGB

        34.017  

           34.358  

 § 83 StGB

        28.222  

        28.683  

 § 83 StGB

83,0%

83,5%

 § 84 StGB

          3.196  

             3.045  

 § 84 StGB

          2.513  

          2.449  

 § 84 StGB

78,6%

80,4%

 § 85 StGB

               32  

                  24  

 § 85 StGB

               28  

               23  

 § 85 StGB

87,5%

95,8%

 § 86 StGB

                 2  

                    3  

 § 86 StGB

                 2  

                 2  

 § 86 StGB

100,0%

66,7%

 § 87 StGB

             412  

                392  

 § 87 StGB

             356  

             337  

 § 87 StGB

86,4%

86,0%

 § 105 StGB

          2.869  

             2.747  

 § 105 StGB

          2.600  

          2.469  

 § 105 StGB

90,6%

89,9%

 § 106 StGB

          1.679  

             1.728  

 § 106 StGB

          1.558  

          1.593  

 § 106 StGB

92,8%

92,2%

 § 107 StGB

        13.321  

           13.530  

 § 107 StGB

        12.380  

        12.522  

 § 107 StGB

92,9%

92,5%

 § 107a StGB

          2.196  

             1.980  

 § 107a StGB

          1.908  

          1.729  

 § 107a StGB

86,9%

87,3%

 § 107b StGB

             937  

             1.013  

 § 107b StGB

             936  

          1.010  

 § 107b StGB

99,9%

99,7%

 § 108 StGB

               58  

                  66  

 § 108 StGB

               42  

               40  

 § 108 StGB

72,4%

60,6%

 § 201 StGB

             839  

                826  

 § 201 StGB

             668  

             658  

 § 201 StGB

79,6%

79,7%

 § 202 StGB

             249  

                248  

 § 202 StGB

             188  

             192  

 § 202 StGB

75,5%

77,4%

 § 205 StGB

             188  

                173  

 § 205 StGB

             165  

             154  

 § 205 StGB

87,8%

89,0%

 § 206 StGB

             325  

                304  

 § 206 StGB

             310  

             290  

 § 206 StGB

95,4%

95,4%

 § 207 StGB

             290  

                312  

 § 207 StGB

             267  

             288  

 § 207 StGB

92,1%

92,3%

 § 207a StGB

             465  

                465  

 § 207a StGB

             390  

             409  

 § 207a StGB

83,9%

88,0%

 § 207b StGB

               62  

                  48  

 § 207b StGB

               54  

               44  

 § 207b StGB

87,1%

91,7%

 § 208 StGB

             188  

                221  

 § 208 StGB

             143  

             163  

 § 208 StGB

76,1%

73,8%

 § 208a StGB

               83  

                  52  

 § 208a StGB

               46  

               30  

 § 208a StGB

55,4%

57,7%

 § 211 StGB

               15  

                  18  

 § 211 StGB

               15  

               18  

 § 211 StGB

100,0%

100,0%

 § 212 StGB

               93  

                119  

 § 212 StGB

               92  

             118  

 § 212 StGB

98,9%

99,2%

 § 213 StGB

                 1  

                     -  

 § 213 StGB

                 1  

                  -  

 § 213 StGB

100,0%

---

 § 214 StGB

                 3  

                    1  

 § 214 StGB

                 1  

                 1  

 § 214 StGB

33,3%

100,0%

 § 215 StGB

                 7  

                  12  

 § 215 StGB

                 6  

               11  

 § 215 StGB

85,7%

91,7%

 § 215a StGB

                 5  

                    4  

 § 215a StGB

                 4  

                 3  

 § 215a StGB

80,0%

75,0%

 § 216 StGB

               39  

                  84  

 § 216 StGB

               36  

               82  

 § 216 StGB

92,3%

97,6%

 § 217 StGB

               29  

                  42  

 § 217 StGB

               24  

               37  

 § 217 StGB

82,8%

88,1%

 § 218 StGB

          1.330  

             1.228  

 § 218 StGB

             817  

             760  

 § 218 StGB

61,4%

61,9%


Police Crime Statistics

 Suspects

Sex

 2014

 2015

 Male

 Female

 TOTAL

 Male

Female

TOTAL

 § 75 StGB

           91  

         17  

        108  

         134  

         22  

        156  

 § 76 StGB

              -  

            -  

             -  

              -  

           1  

            1  

 § 83 StGB

   28.180  

    5.564  

   33.744  

   29.010  

    5.659  

   34.669  

 § 84 StGB

     2.970  

       364  

     3.334  

     2.864  

       322  

     3.186  

 § 85 StGB

           35  

            -  

          35  

           26  

           4  

          30  

 § 86 StGB

             2  

            -  

            2  

             3  

           1  

            4  

 § 87 StGB

         416  

         47  

        463  

         422  

         40  

        462  

 § 105 StGB

     2.607  

       383  

     2.990  

     2.513  

       371  

     2.884  

 § 106 StGB

     1.721  

       149  

     1.870  

     1.750  

       172  

     1.922  

 § 107 StGB

   12.953  

    1.806  

   14.759  

   13.092  

    1.933  

   15.025  

 § 107a StGB

     1.629  

       480  

     2.109  

     1.511  

       436  

     1.947  

 § 107b StGB

     1.005  

       104  

     1.109  

     1.059  

       132  

     1.191  

 § 108 StGB

           39  

           5