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Family Law

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18 NOV 2010

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/ HUMAN RIGHTS: A v Croatia (App No 55164/08)

(European Court of Human Rights; 14 October 2010)

A wife was subjected to repeated violent behaviour, sometimes in front of her child. On occasions the husband also physically abused child. There were seven sets of proceedings against the husband and although some protective measures were implemented, others were not.  The prison sentences were not served and some of the treatment was not undergone due to a lack of qualified providers. The wife was refused an injunction prohibiting the husband from harassing and stalking her on basis that there was no immediate risk to her life.  The husband was eventually imprisoned for making death threats to the judge and the judge's daughter. 

The wife would have been more effectively protected from violence if the authorities had had an overview of the situation, instead of numerous sets of separate proceedings. A failure to enforce protective measures undermined the deterrent purpose of such sanctions. It was still uncertain whether the husband had undergone any psychiatric treatment. The wife's Art 8 right to respect for private life was breached for a prolonged period. Allegation that domestic violence legislation applied in discriminatory fashion in Croatia dismissed.

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