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The phenomenon is of painful proportions in our country, unfortunately.

It does NOT solve itself.

This material is a summary that includes:

  • The extent of the phenomenon in Romania
  • List of sources from which to obtain useful information if I am a victim of violence or want to help a victim
  • What to do if I am a victim of domestic violence: practical, simplified steps
  • Obligations of state institutions
  • Legislation governing the rights of victims of domestic violence, including in relation to state institutions.

I.Domestic Violence: Romania:2020[1] & 2021

Situation of reported crimes of violence

Reported criminal acts Perpetrators Victims
43.712 44.256 45.676

 

Relationship between victim and perpetrator:

Spouse or former spouse Current or former Current or former parent/legal guardian Son/daughter Others TOTAL
17.688 9.219 4.357 9.232 5.180 45.676

 

At national level, there are currently 254 services for victims of domestic violence.
164 SOCIAL SERVICES aimed at preventing and combating domestic violence of which:

  • 152 for victims of domestic violence
  • 12 for domestic abusers

6 integrated emergency services for victims of sexual violence
84 specialised services::

  • 42 support groups
  • 42 vocational counselling offices

Around 11-14,000 victims are accommodated annually in these 254 centres, but more are being built.

 

But in 2021, the number of victims has increased by 10%!

65% of victims of domestic violence are women, 17% are minors and 18% are men!

Of sexually abused children, 80% are girls and 20% are boys.

According to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights report, by 2021, "more than a third of physical violence against women (37%) takes place in the home, with psychological effects for 69% of victims. Nearly three out of four cases of sexual harassment (72%) against women are committed by someone they do not know. Only a third (30%) of victims of physical assault and a tenth (11%) of victims of harassment report it to the police"

However, the above data only shows reported cases, the real scale of the phenomenon is much larger:

II. WHERE I GET MY INFORMATION, IN BRIEF

Very useful information in support of victims of violence and the defence of guaranteed rights can be obtained here::

 

 

 

III. What to do if I am a victim of domestic violence

Making a plan to make sure I can cope if necessary. That plan I practice when I am alone, but if I have a child, I also teach them, as far as is safe, to understand why I am asking them to do something.

  • Having already known what domestic violence is, I have noticed that I am a victim.
  • I have to consider a real situation: experiences have shown that a victim of domestic violence can break away from the abuser after 7-8-9 failed attempts (I will probably try, like other victims, to make excuses, always, to my abuser).

It would be ideal to succeed on the first try, but if it doesn't work out for me, I will know that I am not the only person in this situation and that I need courage and willpower, plus information and training to do whatever is necessary to stand up for my rights.

  • Do not isolate myself from those around me. I will need help. I stay connected with the outside world, including through social networks (Facebook, Whatsapp...). I always exchange passwords: as I know the abuser, he knows me very well, and can check my movements.
  • Most domestic violence situations evolve gradually and I can see when it escalates.
  • If I find that I am a victim of domestic violence, I safely call 0800 500 333 or, if I can, I read the laws that tell me what and how I should do and who I should call for help.
  • I set up a coded message, which sounds trivial, but which someone, as the case may be: a friend/relative/neighbour/your child, can understand and know that it means 'Very urgent! I need help!" (e.g. the person to whom I send the message will know that they need to call 112 for me). I try to deliver this message when I am at risk. If I do it repeatedly and unjustifiably, the person will not know when to act and when not to act.
  • If I decide that the safest situation for me is to leave, then, I stay calm and make a plan (I don't write it down, so the aggressor won't find it) to know how to proceed: where I have my spare key, which door remains accessible, personal documents.
  • If I have someone I trust, this emergency kit (keys, money, personal documents and essentials), I can leave it with her for when I need it. If not, I set up a place to keep this small emergency bag so as not to arouse the curiosity of my assailant, I can leave it at work.
  • If I have a child, I teach them how to call 112, and in what situations.
  • I make sure I have a safe place to stay. When I get informed, I make a list of useful contacts (eventually I save them in my phone so they don't attract attention. I have a relative, a friend, a domestic violence shelter there.
  • I make sure I have little money or someone to borrow from in such a situation.
  • If I haven't had a chance to make this plan and the violent situation escalates, then I call 112.
  • If I've managed to put my plan into action and I'm in a safe place, I can do the following:

call the police and file a complaint; ask for a Protection Order (they will give me a model if I don't have access to the internet to get it from the ANES page).

  • I get the protection order and make sure that anyone who is around my child/children knows about it and lets me know urgently if the abusive partner tries to take the child/children.

So, I have three possibilities:

  • Either I return to the shared residence, but my aggressor is obliged by the Order and the police to leave the residence immediately. He can be provided with accommodation for a fixed period in certain shelters, and the police will provide him with solutions. (During the temporary eviction from the dwelling, the aggressor is given the time strictly necessary for him to take with him his identity documents, money, medicines or other personal belongings of strict necessity);
  • either they go to a shelter (social service centres) dedicated to victims of domestic violence, obviously together with the minor child/children.
  • or I have a place of my own (or parents' etc..) where I can stay safe (change door locks, set the alarm, do everything I can to ensure my safety and that of my child/children).
  • I will always keep a copy (the original should be in a safe place) of the Protection Order with me and will bring it to the attention of my employer, police, relatives, friends.
  • If the police do not help me (even though they are obliged by law), I will contact a lawyer (if I do not have sufficient resources and I am in the conditions, I will also benefit from the support of the State to ensure these legal costs). In addition, I will file a complaint with the County Police Inspectorate, the People's Advocate, the National Agency for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (ANES).
  • I can obtain the urgent transfer (if I have chosen a specialised, temporary shelter), on a temporary basis, of child victims or witnesses of domestic violence to the school facility recommended by the institutions providing social services (temporary accommodation centres) for the prevention and combating of domestic violence.

 

Social services (including accommodation in safe places, for a fixed period) also means: emergency reception centres; rehabilitation centres; sheltered housing) are on a day or continuous basis, with or without legal personality, of local or county interest. These centres may be run by the state, NGOs or public-private partnerships, but they are all part of the Network of social services for victims of domestic violence. If I can't cope, they will support me, including getting a qualification if I don't have one, plus a job or rent, at the end of the term, more suited to my abilities.

Then once I am safe (myself and child/children) I can also get separation (divorce) from the abuser.

IV. WHAT RIGHTS DO I, AS A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, HAVE AND WHAT OBLIGATIONS DO THE STATE AUTHORITIES HAVE TOWARDS ME?

 

The information below is largely contained in Law 217/2003 on preventing and combating domestic violence.

The victim of domestic violence has the right to:

  • to respect for his/her personality, dignity and privacy; to be informed about the exercise of his/her rights;
  • special protection appropriate to his or her situation and needs;
  • to counselling, rehabilitation, social reintegration and free medical assistance, in accordance with this law;
  • to free legal advice and assistance, under the terms of the law.

 

The financing of services, including the accommodation of victims in safe shelters, for the prevention and combating of domestic violence, organised in the public system or, where appropriate, in public or public-private partnership, is provided from local budgets, from state budget funding through programmes of national interest, as well as from various types of non-reimbursable or reimbursable funding or, where appropriate, from the state budget.

 

These shelters provide free of charge, for a fixed period of time, family assistance to both the victim and the minors in their care, protection from the aggressor, medical assistance and care, food, accommodation, psychological counselling and legal advice, in accordance with the organisational and operational instructions drawn up by the authority.

 

Victims shall be admitted to the shelter only in an emergency or, where appropriate, with the approval of the management of the centre, when isolation of the victim from the offender is required as a protective measure. The persons who have committed the act of aggression are forbidden access to the premises of the shelter where the victims are.

The location of the shelters is secret to the general public.

 

IV.1. OBLIGATIONS OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

Central and local public authorities have an obligation to inform victims of domestic violence of all their rights and the help to which they are legally entitled:

  • State institutions and non-governmental organisations providing psychological counselling or any other form of assistance and protection to the victim, according to her needs;
  • the prosecution body to which they can lodge a complaint;
  • the right to legal assistance and the institution to which they can turn to exercise this right;
  • the conditions and procedure for granting free legal aid;
  • the procedural rights of the injured person, the injured party and the civil party;
  • the conditions and procedure for the award of financial compensation by the State, in accordance with the law. (http://prorefugiu.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Financial-Compensation-Guide.pdf - page 6)
  • Local authorities (municipalities) are obliged to bear, from the local budget, in cases of domestic violence established after the victim has been registered by the public social welfare services, the costs of medical assistance for victims of domestic violence who are not medically insured.
  • The public authorities with powers in this area may appoint the following categories of professionals to deal with cases of domestic violence, but are not limited to them: social workers, psychologists and legal advisers or persons with social assistance duties, employees of the general directorates for social assistance and child protection, social assistance directorates, public social assistance services, community policemen, social workers, psychologists and legal advisers, as well as personnel with social assistance duties of non-governmental organisations or authorised social service providers with which one of the public authorities has drawn up a contract for the provision of services relating to this activity.

 

 

V. DEDICATED LEGISLATION

The legislation governing these rights of victims of domestic violence, including their rights in relation to state institutions, are largely laid down in laws (all of which, as we know, can be found on just.ro):

State institutions that have a legal duty to support victims of domestic violence and defend their rights:

 

 

Conclusion: Whether we are a victim of domestic violence or we are aware of such cases, we can inform ourselves and do something to defend the rights of victims of domestic violence.

In addition, as we can see, state institutions are obliged by law to defend the rights of victims of domestic violence. It is natural to know what rights we have in relation to this type of violence.

 

 

[1] According to the ANES Activity Report for 2020: https://anes.gov.ro/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Raport-de-Activitate-2020-ANES.pdf

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