Poland–Domestic Violence–Committee Against Torture–June 2019

The Advocates for Human Rights, together with Women’s Rights Centre, submitted a joint report on domestic violence in Poland for the 68th session of the Committee Against Torture in June of 2019.

Poland fails to uphold its obligations to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Punishment. The Committee Against Torture has indicated that domestic violence can fall within the purview of prohibited torture; domestic violence is widespread in Poland. In 2017, police reported more than 165,000 cases of domestic violence. These figures, however, drastically underestimate reality; NGOs estimate that there are closer to 1 million incidences of domestic violence annually. Despite attempts at reform, victims still want for adequate services and protection from abuse while perpetrators are rarely held accountable for their crimes. Furthermore, a resurgence of traditional patriarchal values regarding a woman’s place in the home and family has contributed to a rollback of recently-made progress.

The report offers recommendations to the government of Poland regarding domestic violence including:

  • Provide adequate and regular funding to specialized shelters and support services for domestic violence victims, including to shelters and support services that serve only women and children, and adopt legislation to guarantee that funding.
  • Require regular trainings for police, prosecutors, judges, and social workers on all forms of violence against women and ensure that the trainings are adequately funded and conducted in collaboration with NGOs that work with victims of gender-based violence.
  • Direct the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice to collect and publish data on an annual basis concerning the number of reports of domestic violence, the number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions for domestic violence, and the number of femicides.