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About domestic violence
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Council of Europe recommendation
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Analytical study on the effective implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states
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Stocktaking study on the measures and actions taken in Council of Europe member states (2006)
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    Poland’s report on the activities undertaken within the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence

    1. Legal and policy measures

    The following regulations are in force in Poland: Act of 29 July 2005 on counteracting family violence (Dz.U. No 180, item 1493) and the National Programme on Counteracting Family Violence approved by way of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 162/2006 of 25 September 2006.
    On 6 July 2006 a Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy on Standards of Basic Services Rendered by Specialist Support Centres for Victims of Family Violence and Detailed Directions of Correction and Education Activities was issued. The Regulation is the basis for establishment of specialist support centres for victims. The centres are to offer medical, psychological, legal and social counselling. By the end of 2006 32 specialist support centres for victims of family violence would have been established. Voivods have received funds for establishing and maintaining victims’ support centres and correction and education programmes for perpetrators.

    The amendment of the Act with regard to the compulsory isolation of violence perpetrators from their victims is planned for 2008. In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is working on the Act on sign language, which will provide for the training in the sign language for the employees of each public institution so as to enable deaf persons to obtain e.g. assistance at the Police station.

    2. Support and protection for victims

    1) In 2007 the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy launched funds of PLN 9 600 000 for maintenance of specialist support centres for the victims of family violence;

    and
    2) launched funds of PLN 2 315 768 for the implementation of corrective and educational programmes for perpetrators.

    Funds for the financing of the network of support centres and crisis intervention centres, related to, inter alia, the implementation of tasks resulting from the Government Programme “Combating and prevention of human trafficking” (financing of support centres and crisis intervention centres does not result from the National Programme). In addition, the training on helping the violence victims for the first contact employees, i.e. Police, social assistance, health care, education and courts, in all regions of Poland were financed with the amount of PLN 240 000.

    3. Data collection

    In May 2007 the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy ordered TNS OBOP to prepare the analysis of family violence phenomenon, taking into account the training needs of the first contact employees. In October 2007 the reports were published on the Ministry’s website. The cost of the analysis amounted to PLN 150 000.
    In addition, the statistical data on violence in all 16 voivodeships are collected.

    The Team monitoring the implementation of the National Programme on Counteracting Family Violence was established pursuant to the Order No 27 of the Prime Minister of 16 March 2007.
    The tasks of the Team include:
    - to work out and unify the standards of assistance granted to violence victims, witnesses and perpetrators, to systematically collect data on the scale of the family violence, as well as to analyse the needs in the local community in detail and on a current basis;
    - to initiate and support the activities aimed at counteracting family violence;
    - to issue opinions on the issues related to the application of the Act of 29 July 2005 on counteracting family violence (Dz.U. No 180, item 1493) and to initiate the amendments of the regulations on counteracting family violence;
    - to prepare the expert’s opinions on selected aspects of family violence.
    The most important activities of the Team since the day of its establishment until now include:

      The establishment of the Working Group of the Team monitoring the implementation of the National Programme on Counteracting Family Violence. The Working Group comprises experts from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the General Headquarters of Police and the National Radio and Television Council.
      The preparation of the report from the implementation of the National Programme on Counteracting Family Violence for the period from 25 September 2006 to 31 December 2006, which was approved by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland on 28 February 2008 (on 18 July 2007 it was approved by the Council of Ministers).
      The development of assumptions for training packages on reasons and consequences of family violence, for the first contact employees on issues related to counteracting family violence.

    4. Awareness Raising

    On 25 September 2007 the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy signed an agreement for the implementation of the national social campaign on counteracting family violence. The campaign included the production of 4 000 posters and 400 000 leaflets. The materials were sent to 16 voivodeship cities – to the Social Policy Departments of the Voivodeship Offices which were put under the obligation to forward them to the places of public utility. The posters and leaflets displayed a telephone number and an email address of the “Blue Line” national emergency service for the victims of family violence. The cost of the campaign amounted to PLN 61 390.40 and was finance with the funds at the disposal of the minister competent for social security.

    In addition, 5 000 Council of Europe posters (the cost of PLN 4 880) and 3 500 calendars with the so-called “blue insert” containing all institutions in Poland which grant support to the violence victims (the cost of PLN 59 780) were produced within the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign. The Ministry sent them to non-governmental organisations, support centres for violence victims, consultation points, Police headquarters, courts, etc. The Council of Europe spot was broadcast on TV and distributed on CD to the abovementioned institutions and journalists. Apart from that, the spot will be shown at the cinemas.
    On 12 May and 5 December 2007 two thematic conferences were conducted within the framework of the CoE Campaign for non-governmental organisations, support centres for the victims of violence and the Police headquarters and courts on raising funds for counteracting violence and the application of the Act on counteracting family violence.
    The last element of the campaign will be the competition for non-governmental organisations dealing with violence for the training on the “Blue Card” procedure for police officers. The competition will be announced in April and it will be implemented throughout the whole country.

    Also a commercial spot entitled “Small is fragile”, posters and leflets were produced within the framework of the campaign entitled “Childhood under protection” which was to be a national discourse involving various communities and groups in counteracting the violence against children in the family. The spot was broadcast on the public television (as a part of its mission) for 6 weeks at the turn of May and June 2007 and for 4 weeks in October 2007. The posters and leaflets were sent to the Social Policy Departments in 16 voivodeships and distributed therefrom to schools, health care centres, Police headquarters and the Social Support Centres. The total cost of the campaign amounted to gross PLN 642 597.

    National Plans of Action

    The following regulations are in force in Poland: Act of 29 July 2005 on counteracting family violence (Dz.U. No 180, item 1493) and the resulting National Programme on Counteracting Family Violence.

    The Act of 29 July 2005 on Counteracting Family Violence provides for initiating and supporting actions raising the social awareness on the reasons and effects of family violence. Its goals include:
    – systematic diagnosis of the phenomenon of family violence,
    – increasing social sensitivity to the phenomenon,
    – raising the qualifications of the public services dealing with the problem,
    – providing professional assistance to victims of family violence,
    – influencing the perpetrators.
    According to the Act, assistance and professional support are to be offered to the victims: spouses, children, elderly persons and disabled persons.

    The Act also amended the Penal Code. According to the new wording of Article 72, a court suspending the execution of the penalty may oblige the convicted person to undergo treatment, particularly detoxification or rehabilitation treatment, or therapeutic influence or to participate in correction and education programmes. The court may also oblige the convicted person to refrain from contacting the injured party or other persons and/or leave the lodgings occupied jointly with the injured party. The court may also decide upon such measures in the event of conditional suspension of the proceedings. If circumstances for applying the temporary arrest of the perpetrator of a crime committed with the use of violence or unlawful menace towards a family member occur, the court may apply police supervision instead of temporary arrest, but only upon the condition that the suspect/the accused leaves the lodgings occupied jointly with the injured party within the set date, and specifies his place of residence. In the event of vacating the lodgings, one of the restrictions of freedom of the suspect necessary to perform the supervision may consist in the suspect refraining from contacting the injured party in a defined manner.

    On 25 September 2006 the Council of Ministers enacted the National Programme against Family Violence. Thanks to the Programme the following are expected:
    – decrease in the scope of the phenomenon of family violence,
    – change in the society’s attitudes towards violence,
    – growth in the number of persons offering support to the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence on a professional basis,
    – growth in the number of establishments offering support,
    – decrease in the number of families in which numerous interventions of the police and other services dealing with domestic violence are necessary.

    The Programme includes five action priorities:
    – systematic diagnosis of the phenomenon of family violence,
    – raising the level of social awareness and sensitivity,
    – training the services counteracting family violence,
    – protection of and support for the victims – operation of specialist support centres for victims of violence,
    – influencing persons resorting to violence through correction and education programmes.

    National Programme against Family Violence places particular emphasis on:

– introducing contents regarding reasons and effects of family violence to vocational training curricula for persons working with this type of violence,
– development of education and support programmes regarding prevention of violence against children, partners, elderly persons and persons with disabilities,
– development of legal protection and psychological support programmes for witnesses of family violence,
– preparation of education packages regarding reasons and effects of family violence and training the staff of various institutions dealing with counteracting such violence,
– collecting information on the scope of the phenomenon,
– verifying the effectiveness of support provided to the families,
– preparation of education packages regarding reasons and effects of family violence and training the persons dealing with counteracting such violence,
– developing instruction materials, recommendations, intervention procedures in the family violence situation, with particular attention paid to the procedures included in the “Blue Card”.
– The Programme also provides for activities regarding the perpetrators, such as:
– isolating the perpetrators from the victims, including orders to vacate the lodgings even if the perpetrator is the chief tenant or the owner of the flat/house,
– development and implementation of correction and education programmes for perpetrators,
– the perpetrators performing socially useful work.

    Assessment of the impact of the Council of Europe Campaign

    The Task Force will partly base its assessment of the impact of the Council of Europe Campaign to combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence on the following indicators. Please respond by ticking on the boxes.

    1. Is any and every act of violence against women criminalised in your country?

    YES NO q

Provisions in the Penal Code: art. 157, 197, 207, 212, 216, 217

    2. Is violence committed by a partner or former partner punished more severely than violence among strangers (eg. gender based violence as such or the abuse of power will be considered an aggravating circumstance)?

    YES q NO

There is no differentiation in the Penal Code

    3. Are victims enabled to seek justice in a human manner (eg. specialised courts on domestic violence, specialised units within the police, the public prosecutor or the judiciary)?

    YES NO q

There is a plan to establish the institution of the victim’s carer which will offer help to the victim.

    4. Does a national emergency 24/7 help-line exist free of charge for victims of domestic violence in your country?

    YES q NO

    5. Have safe shelters been set up for victims of domestic violence in an adequate ratio in your member state? 1

    YES NO q

Institutions supporting the victims of family violence which are run by the gminas.
From among the institutions run by the gminas the overwhelming majority are the consultation points (81%), then the support centres (10%) and the crisis intervention centres.
Consultation points – 1 169
The largest number of consultation points run by the gminas operate in the following voivodeships:

    Wielkopolskie – 132 (11% of all)
    Dolnośląskie – 118 (10%)
    Śląskie – 114 (10%).

The smaller number of such points operate in the following voivodeships:

    Podlaskie – 28 (2%)
    Podkarpackie – 31 (2%)
    Opolskie – 37 (2%).

Support centres - 132
The largest number of support centres run by the gminas operate in the following voivodeships:

    Wielkopolskie – 25 (19% of all)
    Śląskie – 19 (14%).
    Małopolskie – 17 (13%).

The smaller number of such centres operate in the following voivodeships:

    Podkarpackie – 0
    Podlaskie – 1 (1%)
    Świętokrzyskie – 2 (1%).

Crisis intervention centres - 143
Over 13 909 people used the services of 143 crisis intervention centres run by gminas on the territory of the whole country. It means than the average number of persons using the services of one crisis intervention centre was 97. The largest number of people used the services of the centres run by the gminas in the following voivodeships:

    Dolnośląskie – 5 589 (40% of all people using the services of such centres)
    Mazowieckie – 2 020 (15%)
    Lubelskie – 1 740 (13%).

The smallest number of people used the services of such centres in the following voivodeships:

    Pomorskie - 1
    Lubuskie - 13
    Podkarpackie – 21

Institutions supporting the victims of family violence which are run by the poviats.
From among the institutions run by the poviats an overwhelming majority are the crisis intervention centres (72%), then the support centres (12%) and the specialist support centres (10%). Almost 40 000 people used the services of all institutions run by the poviats, the majority of them, i.e. almost 35 000 (88% of all people using the services of those institutions) used the crisis intervention centres.The services of the support centres were used by 3 029 (8%) people.
Support centres – 41
The number of support centres run by the poviats amounted to 41 and the number of people using their services to 3 029, which means that 74 persons on average used the services of one centre.
The specialist support centres for the victims of family violence – 33. In 2006 there were 33 specialist support centres for the victims of family violence run by the poviats in Poland and their services were used by 916 people, which means an average of 28 people per centre.
Houses for mothers with minor children and for pregnant women - 20
20 houses for mothers with minor children and for pregnant women run by the poviats offered 605 places and were used by 701 people which means that the average number of people using the services offered by a single house amounted to 35. The largest number of them was recorded in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship – 251 people (i.e. 36% of all people using the services of the houses for mothers) and the Śląskie Voivodeship – 112 people (16%).
Crisis intervention centres – 235
Almost 35 000 people used the services of 235 crisis intervention centres run by the poviats on the territory of the whole country. It means than the average number of persons using the services of one crisis intervention centre was 148. The largest number of people used the services of the centres run by the poviats in the following voivodeships:

    Zachodniopomorskie – 12 422 (36% of all people using the services of such centres)
    Łdzkie – 3 274 (9%)
    Małopolskie – 3 253 (9%).

The smallest number of people used the services of such centres in the following voivodeships:

    Opolskie – 519
    Świętokrzyskie – 534
    Podlaskie – 74.

    6. Is administrative data being collected on victims of domestic violence?

    YES NO q

Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, acc. To National Action Plan on Counteracting Domestic Violence

    7. Is domestic violence considered as a human rights violation to be addressed in your legal system?

    YES NO q

Note 1 The Blueprint of the Council of Europe Campaign recommends a ratio for one place in a woman’s shelter per 7.500 inhabitants.