Polish Policy on Domestic Violence
Domestic violence prevention and prosecution of perpetrators is one of the priorities of the Polish police. Domestic violence is described as a separate crime in the Polish Penal Code. (See legislation). There are also several programmes implemented to counteract such crime in Poland.
One of them is the National Programme for The Prevention of Domestic Violence for 2014-2020 which was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 29 April 2014.
Furthermore, the amended Counteracting Domestic Violence Act of 10 June 2010 introduced the obligation to set up the Monitoring Committee on Combating Violence in Family. It was established in March 2011. The Committee consists of:
- National Coordinator of the National Programme of Combating Violence in Family,
- seven representatives of central administration bodies or its subordinated institutions,
- five representatives of territorial self-government units,
- ten representatives of non-governmental organizations, unions and churches.
The tasks of the committee include:
- launching and supporting activities aimed at combating violence in family;
- monitoring of activities in the field of combating violence;
- issuing opinion on issues related to application of the Law on counteracting family violence and initiated the changes in this field;
- issuing opinion in case of litigation between public administration bodies and non-governmental organizations implementing task from the field of combating family violence;
- issuing opinion on public task in the field of combating violence and commissioning those tasks;
- developing standards of help for violence victims and standards of work with violence perpetrators;
- developing mechanisms of informing on those standards;
- disseminating results of monitoring of activities in the field of combating family violence.
Additionally, since 1 August 2010 when the amended Counteracting Domestic Violence Act of 10 June 2010 entered into force, there are interdisciplinary teams in every gmina (territorial self-government unit). These teams are composed of the following representatives of: social assistance organisational units, gmina committees for solving alcohol-related problems, the Police, educational system, health protection system, NGOs and they may include other institutions. Interdisciplinary Teams are responsible for taking measures aiming to provide joint assistance in individual cases but also for coordinating all activities concerning domestic violence.
The amended Counteracting Domestic Violence Act of 10 June 2010 introduced:
- a new preventive measure ordering an accused to leave the premises occupied jointly with the victim, provided there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused could commit another violent offence against the victim;
- new kinds of penal measures that contain the order to leave the premises occupied jointly with the victim and the restraining order; < >new kinds of probation measures that contain the restraining order and may require offenders to participate in corrective and educational programmes, with or without their consent;
- a mandatory premise ordering the enforcement of a suspended punishment and repealing parole granted to domestic violence offenders who have committed such acts again;
- a procedure that involves a court probation officer and allows to file a motion with the court to enforce a suspended prison sentence or repeal parole;
- the right to claim separation of a domestic violence offender from his or her victim in civil proceedings;
- a procedure of removing a child from a family by a social worker, if the child’s life or health is in danger because of violence. The decision is taken jointly with the Police, medical doctor, nurse or a paramedic. The social worker is obligated to notify the family court within 24 hours of this fact, and the court then issues a decision about the child’s future fate;
- free-of-charge medical examination to determine the cause and nature of bodily injuries and free-of-charge medical certificates that can be used as evidence in court proceedings.
The government programme for reducing crime and antisocial behaviour “Safer Together” in operation since 2007 is also a good example of measures meant to counteract domestic violence. It involves efforts undertaken by the Police, central and local government administration authorities and social partners.