Bevacqua and S. v. Bulgaria

App. No. 71127/01, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2008)

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Bevacqua and S. v. Bulgaria

European Court of Human Rights
App. No. 71127/01, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2008)

Facts

Valentina Bevacqua (plaintiff) and Mr. N. married and had a child, S. (plaintiff). N. began physically abusing Bevacqua, who took S., moved out of the house, and filed a petition for divorce and temporary custody in the Sofia District Court. Bevacqua’s divorce petition contained domestic-violence allegations. The court set the matter for hearing, but the hearing was delayed. N. took S. away from Bevacqua for about one week. Bevacqua filed a complaint. The prosecutor ordered the issuance of a warning to N., and the warning was given almost two months later. In the meantime, Bevacqua picked up S. at kindergarten and took him to Bevacqua’s home. N. appeared at Bevacqua’s house, assaulted her in S.’s presence, then grabbed S. and took him away. Bevacqua filed a police report with medical records documenting her injuries from N.’s abuse. The court ordered Bevacqua and N. to attempt to reconcile and set the hearing for six months after the date Bevacqua filed the divorce petition. N. hit Bevacqua and bruised her face, but the police did not intervene because domestic violence was considered a private matter. Over one year after Bevacqua filed the divorce petition, the court granted the divorce with custody to Bevacqua. N. attacked Bevacqua again and left bruises on her body. The prosecutor declined to prosecute N. because Bevacqua suffered light bodily injuries and could privately prosecute the matter and file a civil suit for damages. The European Convention on Human Rights, also known as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, contained a provision, Article 8, that recognized that everyone had the right to respect for his or her private life. Bevacqua filed an application in the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of S. and herself, arguing, among other things, that Bulgaria (defendant) had violated Bevacqua’s Article 8 right to private life by failing to protect her from N.’s abuse.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning ()

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