Failure to protect from domestic violence

Balsan v Romania (Appl. No 49645/09)

This case concerns the failure by the national authorities to adequately protect the applicant from domestic violence inflicted by her spouse in 2007 and 2008. The Court ruled that:

"… the violence suffered by the applicant can be regarded as gender-based violence, which is a form of discrimination against women. Despite the adoption of the Government of a law and a national strategy on preventing and combating violence, the overall unresponsiveness of the judicial system and the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors, indicated that there was an insufficient commitment to take appropriate action to address domestic violence."

Ms Ecaterina-Georgiana Gheorghe, Legal Officer, Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee, underlined in her presentation how the ECtHR also noted its concern with the fact that the national authorities had considered the domestic violence to have been provoked and that the violence was not severe enough to fall within the scope of the criminal law. In terms of recommendations to support implementation of the judgment, Ms Gheorghe noted the need for the Romanian police to adopt new working procedures concerning restraining orders to immediately and effectively protect victims and restrain attackers.