Criminal responsibility & restraining orders

If the court has issued a restraining order and the perpetrator has violated this order, he or she may become criminally responsible.

Since the restraining order ensures the safety of the victim, a violation of the order can be defined as a criminal offence. Criminal proceedings can be initiated if the violation of the restraining order poses a danger to the life, health or property of persons, or the violation is repeated.

Criminal responsibility & Human rights

The right to life, the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment and the right to private and family life

Conducting effective criminal proceedings and calling perpetrators of domestic violence to criminal responsibility is an essential remedy of the State in protecting the rights of victims and to prevent human rights violations. If the pertinent authorities fail to protect the victim by effectively investigating, charging, trying and, if appropriate, convicting the perpetrator, it may result in a violation of the right to life, the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment and the right to private and family life.

Prohibition of discrimination

Domestic violence is considered to be a form of discrimination against women, as it affects mainly women. If the State (in this case – the pertinent authorities) fails to conduct effective criminal proceedings and call the perpetrator to responsibility, it may result in a violation of the prohibition of discrimination in conjunction with a violation of the right to life, the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment, and the right to private and family life.

Right to a fair trial

If the victims of domestic violence have been recognized as victims in criminal proceedings, they have a number of rights pertinent to a fair trial. For example, under certain circumstances, they have the right to free legal aid. If the failure of the State to ensure those fair trial guarantees towards the victims has resulted in an unfair process for the victims, it may lead to the violation of the right to a fair trial

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain the types of crimes that may be committed by violating a restraining order imposed by the court and how to invoke the responsibility of the perpetrator.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education