Child victim

In many domestic violence cases, children suffer from the abuser’s aggression directly or indirectly by witnessing violence between adults. Different legal regulations are to be applied since the protection of child rights requires a different and more specific approach.

According to Article 2, item 2 from the Protection from Domestic Violence Act any act of domestic violence committed in the presence of a child shall be deemed as psychological and emotional violence against the child. The protection order for a child can be requested by the parent who has not committed the violence, by the victim if having 14 years of age, by a brother, sister or a victim’s relative of direct lineage, by the trustee or the guardian of the victim and by the Director of the Social Assistance Department. One of the protective measures is to temporary determinate the place of residence of the child with the suffered parent or with the parent who has not committed the violence.

A child victim of domestic violence has the same right to obtain state protection, hold the perpetrator responsible for his or her actions and to receive compensation similarly to an adult victim of domestic violence. However, a child must be represented (e.g., for signing documents and submitting applications) by his/her legal guardian. If the child’s legal guardian hesitates or refuses to submit  a protection order request on the child’s behalf,  this request can be submitted by the Director of the Social Assistance Department.

Removal from the family

In a situation where children are endangered by their legal representatives – the parents or a guardian, and thus there is no one representing the child’s rights and interests against the abuser, the child may be separated from the family if it is impossible to eliminate the risk for the child while it stays in the family.  The Director of the Social Assistance Department shall bring the child to a safe situation – a crisis centre, a medical institution, a foster family or other safe place. The police can provide police protection for the child including placing the victim in safe institution for 48 hours. In case of violence against the child committed by a parent the Director of the Social Assistance Department, the prosecutor or the other parent can file a request to the district court for determination of the rights of custody of the abusive parent.

Assistance to abuse victims

A child victim of domestic violence shall be provided with emergency assistance free of charge, in order for the child to regain their physical and mental health and to reintegrate into society. Such medical treatment and reintegration shall take place in an environment favourable to the health, self-esteem and honour of the child, carefully guarding the child’s intimate secrets.

Child protection & Human rights

In cases where a child has become a victim of domestic violence, similar violations of human rights may occur as in the case of adult victims.

Where state authorities have failed to take appropriate protective measures specifically designed to protect a child, a violation of the right to private and family life may occur. For example, the removal of a child from a family or granting, without the necessary due diligence to the custody rights of the other parent. 

There may be a violation of the right to a fair trial in cases where a child is involved in court proceedings related to domestic violence and the authorities have failed to ensure fair trial guarantees specifically designed to protect child victims.