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Kurt v. Austria: GREVIO submits first written observations

Strasbourg 22/01/2020
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Kurt v. Austria: GREVIO submits first written observations

On 21 January 2020 GREVIO submitted, for the first time since its inception, written observations to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case of Kurt v. Austria (Application no. 62903/15). This case concerns the murder of an eight-year-old boy by his father after previous allegations by the mother of domestic violence.

In its submission GREVIO addresses, inter alia, the importance of applying a gendered understanding of domestic violence in order to ensure the effective investigation, prosecution and protection of victims. GREVIO stresses the need for the competent national authorities entrusted with prevention, prosecution and the protection of victims, to take into account the specific nature and dynamics of domestic violence and the risks for children in this context. It draws the Court’s attention, in particular, to the heightened risk of harm to children in the context of separation.

GREVIO underscores that all relevant authorities must effectively carry out a risk assessment for the victims as of receipt of the complaint using standardised tools, in order to assess and manage the safety risks. Notably, it recalls the red-flags indicative of a high risk that are normally included in such tools and underscores the need for such assessment to address systematically also the risk for the victims’ children, where applicable. It further highlights that the obligation to effectively assess the relevant risk falls on the statutory agencies and that the latter should not rely on the victim’s own assessment of the risk.

The written submissions further address the key elements of emerging barring orders, which should guarantee not only the protection of victims and persons at risk in their own home but also the prohibition that the perpetrator contact the victim or person at risk anywhere else for a sufficient time. GREVIO further stresses the need, where warranted, to extend the scope of the protection to the children of the victim. In this connection, it draws the Court’s attention to the fact that shortcomings in protecting child victims and witnesses from their abusive parent through the issue and implementation of emergency barring orders/protection orders have been frequently commented on in GREVIO evaluation reports

Read GREVIO’s written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case of Kurt v. Austria (Application no. 62903/15)