Responsibility of the perpetrator

One of the elements of effective response by the State to domestic violence is making the perpetrators responsible for their acts. Responsibility has an important place in enforcing human rights. It also plays a large role in the rehabilitation of the victim and provides a strong message to society that any act of domestic violence shall be punished.

In addition to civil liability for his or her actions, the perpetrator must bear criminal and administrative responsibility. Criminal and administrative responsibility implies punishment for the perpetrator. The punishment has a number of objectives – to protect public safety, to restore justice, to punish the perpetrator for the committed criminal or administrative offense, to ensure that the perpetrator as well as others refrain from committing criminal or administrative offenses in the future.

Making the perpetrator responsible is also a very crucial part in the rehabilitation process of the victim, since it serves the restoration of justice and may diminish self-blaming by the victim in this way and encourage the victim to exercise her/his rights more effectively.

According to the Estonian Penal Code perpetrators in domestic violence cases may be responsible for a number of offences, starting from minor bodily injury and ending with murder.

Making perpetrators responsible for domestic violence also demonstrates the ability of the State to enforce human rights. The failure of the State to conduct appropriate criminal or administrative proceedings and convict the perpetrator may result in a violation of human rights.  

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain the kind of criminal responsibility the perpetrator may bear for the acts of domestic violence and how the victim can claim compensation in relation to criminal responsibility.  

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education