A.T. v. Hungary
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Comm. No. 2/2003, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/32/D/2/2003 (2005)
A.T. (plaintiff) was a victim of severe domestic violence from her common-law husband, L.F., over the course of four years. A.T. and L.F. had two children, one of whom was totally disabled. L.F. battered A.T., resulting in hospitalizations, and threatened to kill her and their children. A.T. could not go to a shelter, because there were no shelters that could take her and her children, particularly with a disabled child. A.T. did not have the option of getting a restraining order, because such protective measures did not exist in Hungary (defendant). Even after L.F. left the home and moved in with another woman and A.T. changed the locks, L.F. filled the locks with glue and broke into the apartment that he and A.T. coowned and beat A.T. severely. A.T. initiated civil proceedings to try to bar L.F. from the apartment, but a final decision permitted L.F. to return on the basis that A.T. had not substantiated her claims of regular beatings, and L.F. had a right to the property that could not be violated. A.T. reported that there were also criminal proceedings, but L.F. was ultimately convicted and only required to pay a fine of approximately $365. The authorities had never confined L.F. or taken any action to protect A.T. A.T. filed a complaint alleging violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the convention). A.T. alleged that Hungary had failed in its positive obligation to protect her from a serious threat to her physical and mental health and her life. Hungary acknowledged that the remedies available to A.T. were not able to protect her from domestic violence by L.F. In 2003 Hungary outlined a host of measures it would implement, but by 2004 the only change was that police officers responded to calls for domestic violence and mediated between the parties. Abusers were not taken into custody. A.T. alleged that there was resistance to making change because many decision-makers considered domestic violence a private family matter and did not comprehend why they should interfere.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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