Rates of Domestic and Sexual Violence In The Czech Republic Continue To Rise
The recent trend of increasing domestic and sexual violence is continuing into 2023. Credit: Freepik.
Prague, Aug 25 (CTK) – Data from the first six months of 2023 indicate a further year-on-year rise in reported domestic and sexual violence cases in the Czech Republic, representatives of the Government Office told reporters yesterday, presenting the Action Plan for Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention for 2023-2026.
Last year, the police recorded 430 cases of abuse of a person living in a shared home, compared to 274 in the first half of this year. They also registered an increase in the numbers of rapes and murders motivated by personal relationships.
“Last year, the police recorded an increase in all crimes related to domestic and sexual violence,” said Government Commissioner for Human Rights Klara Simackova Laurencikova.
She said police data for the first half of 2023 show that this trend continues into this year. “These are the cases that the system somehow became aware of and had a chance to register. This is the tip of the iceberg, the presence of violence is many times larger,” she added.
Experts estimate that about one in five cases of serious domestic violence and one in 20 rapes are reported.
Branislava Marvanova Vargova, chairwoman of the Committee for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Violence against Women, noted the apparent continuing impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and lockdowns.
“At the time of the worst lockdowns, we saw an increase, but the dynamics were a little different,” she said. The previously reported cases, she said, were often a series of violent behaviour that began before the COVID pandemic.
The police annually remove more than 1,000 people from shared households because of an imminent threat to life or health, and the child social and legal protection authority intervenes in about 2,000 households annually, Simacka Laurencikova pointed out.
“The number of murders related to personal relationships is also on the rise. In the first half of this year alone, there were 42 of them,” the commissioner said.
“In the past two or three years, murders of women and children followed by the aggressor’s suicide have been on the rise,” said Vargova. In such cases, the aggressor often threatens suicide beforehand, which increases the risk of future murder, she said.
Last year, 880 cases of rape were reported to the police, compared to 535 in the first half of this year.
“The number of reported rapes has been increasing since 2021. This does not necessarily mean an increase in the number of such crimes, but an increasing confidence in the work of the police and courts and their ability to deal with them. This is linked to a greater willingness to report rape,” the office said in a press release.
The number of cases of abuse and dangerous stalking, on the other hand, has been decreasing since 2011.
The action plan approved by the government focuses on prevention and access to services for victims, as well as perpetrators of violence.
The government commissioner pointed to the lack of specialised services, sufficient training for professionals, and a stronger emphasis on prevention. The plan includes the creation of a new free telephone helpline, strengthening of other services for victims, and the availability of services for perpetrators. Experts say one major problem with the plan is the lack of secured permanent funding for these services.
Number of cases of domestic and gender-based violence:
1st half of 2023
Murders motivated by personal relationships
Abuse of person living in shared home
Source: Czech police data at Government Office press conference, statistical yearbook.