EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
CASE OF A. v. CROATIA
(Application no. 55164/08)
<*> This judgment has become final under Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of A v. Croatia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Christos Rozakis, President,
Sverre Erik Jebens,
George Nicolaou, judges,
and Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 23 September 2010,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
- The case originated in an application (no. 55164/08) against the Republic of Croatia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms («the Convention») by a Croatian national, Ms A («the applicant»), on 8 October 2008. The President of the Chamber acceded to the applicant’s request not to have her name disclosed (Rule 47 § 3 of the Rules of Court).
- The applicant was represented by Ms S. Bezbradica, a lawyer practising in Zagreb. The Croatian Government («the Government») were represented by their Agent, Ms .
- On 3 September 2009 the President of the First Section decided to communicate to the Government the complaints concerning the lack of adequate positive measures under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the Convention, the complaint concerning the lack of an effective remedy under Article 13 and the complaint under Article 14 that the applicant was discriminated against on the basis of her gender. It was also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 1).
- The circumstances of the case
- The applicant was born in 1979 and lives in Z.
- Background to the case
- On 21 April 2001 the applicant married B and on 14 May 2001 a daughter, C, was born of the marriage. On 13 December 2005 the applicant brought a civil action in the Z. Municipal Court (sud u Z.), seeking a divorce from B. On 7 November 2006 the court dissolved the marriage of the applicant and B.
- For the purposes of criminal proceedings instituted against him in 2003, B, who was still the applicant’s husband at the time, underwent a psychiatric examination. The relevant part of the report drawn up by two psychiatrists on 6 December 2004 indicated that B had been captured during the Homeland War and detained in a concentration camp from 3 April to 14 August 1992, where he had been tortured and had sustained serious bodily injuries. It also indicated that since 1992 he had been suffering from mental disorders such as anxiety, paranoia, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The relevant part of the report reads:
«The patient is primarily an emotionally immature person who shows symptoms of chronic PTSD (lowered tolerance of frustration, egocentrism, latent aggressiveness, a tendency towards depressive reactions in stressful situations, as well as a worsening of his condition and impaired social functioning, in particular in family life).
- Criminal proceedings against B on charges of violent behaviour within the family
- On 21 November 2005 B was arrested and detained on suspicion that he had committed the criminal offence of violent behaviour within the family. On 20 December 2005 the Z. State Attorney’s Office indicted B in the Z. Municipal Court on charges of violent behaviour within the family. The indictment alleged that from 12 November 2003 to 21 August 2005 B had verbally insulted and threatened the applicant, prevented her from leaving the house and physically assaulted her; on 12 November 2003 he had physically assaulted her by punching her in the belly, throwing her on the floor and continuing to hit and kick her in the body and head; on 7 August 2005 he had hit the applicant in the face, back and hands, causing lacerations; and on 21 August 2005 he had kicked her in the leg.
- On 20 December 2005 B was released, after his mother gave a statement saying that she would immediately take B to their house in P. However, after having been released, he continued abusing the applicant and therefore on 9 January 2006 the applicant, together with C, moved to a women’s shelter in Z. (hereinafter «the shelter») run by a non-governmental organisation.
- The first hearing scheduled before the Z. Municipal Court for 29 March 2006 was adjourned because B did not appear. The second hearing was held on 25 April 2006.
- On 22 May 2006 the Z. State Attorney’s Office extended the indictment to the criminal offence of neglecting and molesting a child or a minor. The extended indictment alleged that between November 2003 and February 2006 B had continually abused the applicant, both verbally and physically, in front of their daughter C, as well as using inappropriate language in respect of C, and had on several occasions punched and kicked C. Consequently, the case was transferred to the juvenile division (odjel za ) of the Z. Municipal Court.
- Further hearings scheduled for 7 December 2006 and 20 February 2007 were adjourned because B did not appear. A hearing scheduled for 17 April 2007 was adjourned until 9 May 2007 at the request of B’s legal representative. At that hearing the judge ordered a psychiatric examination of B.
- The psychiatric examination established that B suffered from several mental disorders, including PTSD. The report of 2 January 2008 concluded:
«In view of his mental state and the need for continued control and supervision, I would recommend that the court order a security measure of psychiatric treatment.
Treatment may be carried out in a day hospital and without detention.
This would enable him to follow a regular programme of therapy which would preserve his current relatively stable mental condition and hence diminish the likelihood of his repeating the criminal offences and, in practical terms, remove the risk to his environment.»
- Another hearing was held on 12 March 2008, at which the expert psychiatrist was questioned. The expert stated that, owing to his difficult war experiences, B suffered from PTSD; he was a neurotic person with a slightly below-average intellectual level, reduced emotional capacity and a passive-aggressive personality. For those reasons his understanding of his own actions and his ability to control his impulses were significantly reduced. The expert repeated his recommendation that a security measure of compulsory psychiatric treatment be applied.
- A hearing scheduled for 29 April 2008 was adjourned until 4 June 2008 at the request of B’s legal representative. That hearing was also adjourned because B did not appear. Hearings scheduled for 14 July and 3 October 2008 were adjourned because one of the witnesses, an employee of the Z. Social Welfare Centre, did not appear.
- At a hearing held on 19 November 2008 the applicant gave evidence and the court accepted proposals by both parties to call further witnesses. At a hearing held on 10 December 2008 four witnesses gave evidence. Further witnesses were called for the hearing scheduled for 21 January 2009, but the hearing was adjourned until 4 March 2009 since B and one prosecution witness did not appear. The hearing scheduled for 4 March 2009 was also adjourned because B did not appear and the hearing scheduled for 2 April 2009 was adjourned because neither B nor the prosecutor appeared.
- On 6 April 2009 judge M.B. asked to be allowed to step down from the case, since in March 2009 B had threatened her and she had reported B to the police (see paragraph 23 below). The president of the Z. Municipal Court granted her request on 21 April 2009.
- On 9 March 2009 B was admitted voluntarily to a psychiatric hospital, where he stayed until 6 April 2009. On 18 April he again went to a psychiatric hospital voluntarily. On 13 May 2009 the new judge ordered an additional psychiatric examination of B, in order to establish whether he was fit to stand trial. The expert concluded that, even though B’s mental condition had deteriorated somewhat, he was still capable of standing trial. B left the hospital on 28 May 2009. Owing to the change of presiding judge in the proceedings, all the evidence had to be presented again. The first hearing in front of the new judge was held on 11 November 2009. A hearing scheduled for 14 December 2009 was adjourned until 13 January 2010 at the request of B’s legal representative. A hearing was held on 16 February 2010. The criminal proceedings are still pending.
- Criminal proceedings against B on charges of making threats against the applicant and a police officer
- On 1 March 2006 the Z. State Attorney’s Office indicted B in the Z. Municipal Court on charges of making death threats against the applicant on 1 March 2006.
- Further to that, on 30 June 2006 B was arrested and detained on suspicion of the criminal offence of making death threats against the applicant and a police officer, I.G. On 27 July 2006 the Z. State Attorney’s Office indicted B on charges of making death threats against the applicant and I.G.
- On 8 September 2006 the two sets of proceedings were joined. On 16 October 2006 B was found guilty of three counts of making death threats and sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. The relevant extracts from the operative part of the judgment read:
on the grounds that
- in the period from 29 May to 12 June 2006… on the official premises of the Social Welfare Centre, during meetings with minor child C, in order to incite feelings of fear in his former wife A, he whispered several times in her ear that she was a villain, that he was going to get rid of her, that she knew what he was capable of and that she would be swallowed up by darkness; on 14 June 2006 after the meeting with his minor child, he approached A on the street in front of the building of the Social Welfare Centre and whispered in her ear to beware of him and that he was going to get rid of her, which caused in A feelings of anxiety and fear for her own life…
- during November 2005, in Z., on the premises of… police station during an interview [with the police conducted] following a criminal complaint against him on allegations of having committed the criminal offence of violent behaviour within the family… told a policewoman…, in order to incite in her feelings of fear, that she brought shame upon the Croatian police, that she was conspiring against him with his former wife, that he knew the head of the police… and Minister… that these were her last days in police service and that he was going to get rid of her; on 19 January 2006 in the Zagreb Minor Offences Court during her testimony, he repeated that she brought shame upon the Croatian police, that she was conspiring against him with his former wife and that he was going to get rid of her, that he was not going to beat her but would have done with her and would remember her, which caused in her feelings of fear and of a risk to her own life…
- on 21 November 2005 in Z., on the premises of… police department, in order to incite in her feelings of fear and fear for her personal safety, called wife A several times on her cellular phone, telling her to withdraw her criminal complaint against him and, when she refused, told her that she would be swallowed up by darkness, to beware of him, that nothing was going to be as before and that he was going to put her in jail, which caused in A feelings of fear and fear for her personal safety…»
- On 24 October 2006 B was released from detention. On the same day the Z. Municipal Court issued a restraining order against B, prohibiting access to the applicant at a distance of less than three hundred metres, and prohibiting contact with the applicant.
- Both the Z. State Attorney’s Office and B lodged appeals against the first-instance judgment. On 22 May 2007 the judgment was upheld by the Z. County Court and thus became final. The judgment has not yet been enforced.
- Criminal proceedings against B on charges of making death threats against a judge and her minor daughter
- On an unspecified date the Z. State Attorney’s Office indicted B in the Z. Municipal Court on charges of making death threats against judge M.B. and her minor daughter (see paragraph 16 above). In the course of the proceedings B was arrested on 4 September 2009 and placed in pre-trial detention. On 19 October 2009 the Z. Municipal Court found B guilty as charged and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment and also ordered his compulsory psychiatric treatment. It seems that B is still in detention but no information has been provided as to where and whether any psychiatric treatment has been provided.
- Minor offences proceedings against B
(a) The first set of proceedings
- On 7 January 2004 a police station lodged a request with the Z. Minor Offences Court (sud u Z.) for minor offences proceedings to be instituted against B. It was alleged that on 12 November 2003 B had assaulted the applicant and pushed her onto the floor, while kicking her in the body and head.
- At a hearing held on 8 June 2004 the applicant refused to give evidence and the proceedings were discontinued.
(b) The second and third sets of proceedings
- On 14 November 2005 a police station lodged two requests with the Z. Minor Offences Court for minor offences proceedings to be instituted against B.
- In the first request, it was alleged that on 21 August 2005 B had verbally abused the applicant in front of C and had kicked the applicant in the leg. In a decision of 20 November 2006 the court found B guilty of domestic violence and imposed a fine in the amount of 2,000 Croatian kuna (HRK). There is no indication that this fine has been enforced.
- In the second request it was alleged that on 7 August 2005 B had first forcefully stopped the applicant from taking a bath and had hit her in the face, back and hands, causing lacerations. In a decision of 19 July 2007 the court found B guilty of domestic violence and imposed a fine in the amount of HRK 7,000. However, this decision did not become final because the proceedings were discontinued on 28 November 2007, having become time-barred.
(c) The fourth set of proceedings
- On 26 March 2006 the applicant lodged a request with the Z. Minor Offences Court under the Protection against Domestic Violence Act, for minor offences proceedings to be instituted against B. She alleged that since 29 March 2005 B had repeatedly assaulted her in front of C and caused her bodily injuries. These were described in the enclosed medical reports of 29 March and 16 August 2005 as contusions to the upper lip, right calf and right foot. The injuries were classified as minor bodily injuries. He had further threatened to kill her on 1 February 2006.
- The applicant also requested that protective measures be immediately imposed in the form of prohibiting access to her proximity, a prohibition on harassing or stalking her and compulsory psycho-social treatment. The applicant explained that B had been diagnosed with several mental disorders and had been undergoing treatment for years. She requested that the proceedings be instituted as a matter of urgency.
- The court held a preliminary hearing (pripremno ) on 27 June 2006, and subsequent hearings on 19 September 2006 and 26 September 2006. In a decision of 2 October 2006 the court found B guilty of domestic violence and imposed a fine in the amount of HRK 6,000. A protective measure prohibiting access to the applicant at a distance of less than one hundred metres for a period of one year was also ordered, as well as a protective measure of compulsory psycho-social treatment for a period of six months. The relevant extracts from the operative part of the decision read:
on the grounds that
on 1 February 2006 in their flat… he threatened his wife with the following words: «I will kill you, you won’t walk again… you will never see your child again» in the presence of their minor child C… which acts of violence he repeated on several subsequent occasions causing her physical injuries also…»
- On 30 October 2006 the applicant lodged an appeal, arguing that a protective measure in the form of a prohibition on harassing or stalking her and C and a protective measure of prohibition of access to C should have also been applied. She argued further that the measure of prohibition on access to her was not sufficiently precise because the court had failed to specify the date on which the measure was to be implemented. B also lodged an appeal.
- The appeals of B and the applicant were dismissed on 31 January 2007 by the High Minor Offences Court.
- B paid HRK 1,000 of the fine. The remaining fine in the amount of HRK 5,000 was supplemented by a prison term which B has not served. The Government explained that this was because Z. Prison was full to capacity. Furthermore, B has not undergone the compulsory psycho-social treatment because of the lack of licensed individuals or agencies able to execute such a protective measure. Execution of the sentence became time-barred on 31 January 2009.
- On 10 December 2007 the applicant informed the Z. Minor Offences Court that B had violated the restraining order and that in October 2007 he had hired a private detective who had come to her secret address where she had been living after leaving the shelter. The applicant reiterated her request for the application of an additional protective measure in the form of a prohibition on harassing and stalking a victim of violence. Her request was dismissed in a decision of the Z. Minor Offences Court of 12 December 2007 on the ground that she had not shown an immediate risk to her life. On 17 December 2007 the applicant lodged an appeal against that decision. The court dismissed her appeal on 7 January 2008. The applicant lodged a constitutional complaint against that decision on 18 February 2008. On 19 March 2008 the Constitutional Court found that it had no jurisdiction in the matter.
- Other relevant facts
- On an unspecified date the applicant and C left the shelter and went to live at a secret address. On 14 October 2007 an unknown man appeared at their door. The applicant’s partner opened and the man at the door introduced himself as a private detective hired by B to find out the whereabouts of the applicant and C.
- The applicant moved out and lived in a nearby village for five months. According to the applicant, she was not able to find new accommodation elsewhere because all the landlords she had approached answered that they had no wish to deal with her violent ex-husband.
- In the course of the divorce proceedings between the applicant and B, the Z. Municipal Court issued an interim measure on 9 March 2006 and ordered contact between B and C twice a week for one hour on the premises of the Z. Social Welfare Centre, under expert supervision. The applicant did not comply with the decision, so on 23 May 2006 the court threatened her with a fine unless she complied with the order. After that decision the applicant complied with the interim measure until mid-June 2006.
- On 7 November 2006 the Z. Municipal Court dissolved the marriage of the applicant and B and also ordered B to pay child maintenance for C. It further prohibited B from contacting C. Both parties lodged appeals, and on 11 September 2007 the Z. County Court (sud u Z.) upheld the divorce but quashed the first-instance judgment concerning the amount of maintenance to be paid in respect of C and the ban on contact between B and C, and remitted the case in that part.
- On 7 October 2008 the Z. Municipal Court gave a fresh judgment on the amount of maintenance and ordered contact between B and C twice a month for two hours in a children’s play centre in Z., under the expert supervision of the Z. Social Welfare Centre. Both parties lodged appeals, and on 27 January 2009 the Z. County Court upheld the part of the judgment concerning contact between B and C, quashed the decision on maintenance and remitted the case in that part. The proceedings on the child maintenance are still pending.
- Relevant domestic law
Relevant criminal law
- The relevant parts of the Criminal Code (Kaznenei zakon Republike Hrvatske, Official Gazette nos. 110/1997, 28/1998, 50/2000, 129/2000, 51/2001, 11/2003, 105/2004, 84/2005 and 71/2006) read as follows:
«A security measure of compulsory psychiatric treatment may be imposed only as regards a perpetrator who, at the time of committing a criminal offence, suffered from significantly diminished responsibility [and] where there is a risk that the factors giving rise to the state [of diminished responsibility] might incite the future commission of a further criminal offence.
A security measure of compulsory psychiatric treatment may be imposed, under the conditions set out in paragraph 1 of this Article, during the execution of a prison sentence, in lieu of a prison sentence or together with a suspended sentence.
Compulsory psychiatric treatment shall be imposed for as long as the grounds for its application exist, but [it shall not] in any case exceed the prison term… Compulsory psychiatric treatment shall not under any circumstances exceed three years.
«Anyone who inflicts bodily injury on another person or impairs another person’s health shall be fined or sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.»
«Criminal proceedings for the offence of inflicting bodily injury (Article 98) shall be instituted by means of private prosecution.»
«(1) Anyone who threatens another person with harm in order to intimidate or disturb that person shall be fined up to one hundred and fifty monthly wages or sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
(2) Anyone who seriously threatens to kill another person… shall be fined or sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
(4) Criminal proceedings for the criminal offences defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall be instituted upon [a private] application.»
VIOLENT BEHAVIOUR WITHIN THE FAMILY
«A family member who by an act of violence, ill-treatment or particularly contemptuous behaviour places another family member in a humiliating position shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of between six months and five years.»
Relevant minor offences law
- The relevant provisions of the Protection against Domestic Violence Act (Official Gazette no. 116/2003, Zakon o of nasilja u obitelji) provide:
«This Act defines the term domestic violence, persons considered as family members within the meaning of this Act, the manner of protection of family members and the types and purpose of minor offences sanctions.»
«(1) The provisions of the Minor Offences Act are to be applied in respect of minor offences in the sphere of domestic violence, unless otherwise provided by this Act.
(2) All proceedings instituted under this Act shall be urgent.»
«Domestic violence is:
— any use of physical force or psychological pressure against a person’s integrity;
— any other act by a family member which might cause physical or mental suffering;
— causing fear, fear for personal safety or harm to a person’s dignity;
— physical assault irrespective of whether it has caused injury;
— verbal assaults, insults, cursing, calling names or other forms of serious harassment;
— sexual harassment;
— stalking and all other forms of harassment;
— illegal isolation of a person or restricting his or her freedom of movement or communication with others;
— causing damage to or destruction of property or attempting to do so.»
Types and purpose of minor offences sanctions for protection from domestic violence
«(1) Minor offences sanctions for protection from domestic violence are fines, imprisonment and protective measures.
«A court may order the following protective measures against the perpetrator of an act of domestic violence
(a) compulsory psycho-social treatment;
(b) prohibiting access to the victim’s proximity;
(c) prohibition on harassing and stalking the victim of violence;
(d) removal from flat, house or other living premises;
(e) providing protection to a person exposed to violence;
(f) compulsory treatment for addiction;
(g) seizure of objects intended for or used in the commission of a minor offence.»
Purpose of protective measures
«The purpose of protective measures is to prevent domestic violence, to secure the necessary protection of the health and safety of a person exposed to violence and to remove the circumstances favourable to or capable of inciting the commission of a further minor offence.»
Protective measure of compulsory psycho-social treatment
«(1) A protective measure of obligatory psycho-social treatment may be imposed in respect of the perpetrator of an act of domestic violence in order to put an end to the violent behaviour of the perpetrator or where there is a risk that the perpetrator might reoffend against persons under section 3 of this Act.
(2) The measure under paragraph 1 of this section shall remain in place as long as the reasons for which it has been imposed exist, but for no longer than six months.
Protective measure prohibiting access to the victim’s proximity
«(1) A protective measure prohibiting access to the victim’s proximity may be imposed against a person who has committed an act of domestic violence where there is a risk that he or she might reoffend.
(2) A decision imposing a measure prohibiting access to the victim’s proximity shall define the places or areas covered as well as the distance of access.
(3) The duration of a measure under paragraph one of this section shall not be shorter than one month or exceed one year.
Protective measure prohibiting the harassing and stalking of a victim of violence
«(1) A protective measure prohibiting the harassing and stalking of a victim of violence may be ordered against a person who has committed violence by harassing or stalking and where there is a danger of his or her reoffending against persons under section 3 of this Act.
(2) The measure under paragraph 1 of this section shall be ordered for a period from one month to one year.
Protective measure of providing protection to a person exposed to violence
«(1) A protective measure of providing protection to a person exposed to violence may be ordered in respect of a person exposed to violence for his or her physical protection and to enable him or her to take from home his or her personal documents, clothes, money or other items necessary for everyday life.
(2) The measure under paragraph 1 of this section shall include an order to the police to escort the person exposed to violence and protect that person while he or she takes his or her personal items and to escort him or her while leaving the home.
(3) The duration of this measure shall be defined by the duration of implementation of the court order.»
Ordering of protective measures
«(1) Protective measures may be ordered at the request of a person exposed to violence or of the police, or of the court’s own motion.
(2) The protective measures under section 7 (a) and (g) shall be ordered by the court of its own motion.
(3) The protective measures under this Act shall be ordered for a period which shall not be less than one month, nor shall it exceed two years from the date when a decision in minor offence proceedings has become final or from the date of completion of a prison term, if not otherwise provided under this Act.»
«(1) The protective measures under section 7 (b), (c), (d) and g) of this Act may be ordered independently even where no other sanction has been imposed.
(2) The protective measures under paragraph 1 of this section may be imposed at the request of a person who has lodged a request for minor offences proceedings to be instituted, in order to remove a direct risk to the life of persons exposed to violence or other family members.
(3) A court shall give a decision under paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section within 48 hours.
Responsibility for non-compliance with a protective measure
«(1) The perpetrators of domestic violence are obliged to comply with the protective measure [ordered against them].
(2) Persons who do not comply with the protective measure ordered against them shall be punished for a minor offence by a fine which may not be less than 3,000 Croatian kuna or by at least forty days’ imprisonment.
- The relevant part of the Minor Offences Act (Zakon o , Official Gazette no. 88/2002) reads:
«A fine may be prescribed in respect of an individual in a minimum amount of 300 Croatian kuna and a maximum amount of 10,000 Croatian kuna…»
«The prison term may be prescribed for a minimum duration of three days and a maximum of thirty days. On an exceptional basis, in respect of the most serious minor offences, it may be prescribed for a maximum duration of sixty days.
- The relevant provisions of the Enforcement of Prison Sentences Act (Zakon o kazne zatvora, Official Gazette nos. 128/1999 and 190/2003) read as follows:
PURPOSE OF A PRISON TERM
«The main purpose of a prison term, apart from humane treatment and respect for the personal integrity of the person serving the prison term,… is the development of his or her capacity to live after release in accordance with the laws and general customs of society.»
INDIVIDUAL PRGRAMME FOR ENFORCEMENT OF A PRISON TERM
(1) The individual programme for the enforcement of a prison term (hereinafter «the enforcement programme») consists of a combination of pedagogical, working, leisure, health, psychological and safety activities and measures aimed at adapting the time spent in detention to the character traits and needs of the prisoner and the type and possibilities of the particular penitentiary or prison. The enforcement programme shall be designed with a view to fulfilling the purposes of a prison term under section 7 of this Act.
(2) The enforcement programme shall be designed by the prison governor on a proposal from the penitentiary or prison expert team…
(3) The enforcement programme shall contain information on… special procedures (… psychological and psychiatric assistance… special security measures…)
III. Council of europe documents
- In its Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of 30 April 2002 on the protection of women against violence, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe stated, inter alia, that member States should introduce, develop and/or improve where necessary national policies against violence based on maximum safety and protection of victims, support and assistance, adjustment of the criminal and civil law, raising of public awareness, training for professionals confronted with violence against women and prevention.
- The Committee of Ministers recommended, in particular, that member States should penalise serious violence against women such as sexual violence and rape and abuse of the vulnerability of pregnant, defenceless, ill, disabled or dependent victims, as well as penalising any abuse of position by the perpetrator. The Recommendation also states that member States should ensure that all victims of violence are able to institute proceedings, make provisions to ensure that criminal proceedings can be initiated by the public prosecutor, encourage prosecutors to regard violence against women as an aggravating or decisive factor in deciding whether or not to prosecute in the public interest, ensure where necessary that measures are taken to protect victims effectively against threats and possible acts of revenge and take specific measures to ensure that children’s rights are protected during proceedings.
47. With regard to violence within the family, the Committee of Ministers recommended that Member states should classify all forms of violence within the family as criminal offences and envisage the possibility of taking measures in order, inter alia, to enable the judiciary to adopt interim measures aimed at protecting victims, to ban the perpetrator from contacting, communicating with or approaching the victim, or residing in or entering defined areas, to penalise all breaches of the measures imposed on the perpetrator and to establish a compulsory protocol for operation by the police, medical and social services.