Hungary: Domestic violence, including in Roma communities; legislation, including implementation; state protection and support services, particularly in Miskolc, Debrecen and Budapest (2016-July 2018)
According to a report produced by the UN Human Rights Council working group on discrimination against women, following a mission conducted in Hungary in May 2016, domestic violence "remains a serious issue" in the country (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 83).
Information on recent statistics about domestic violence in Hungary was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. Nõk a Nõkért Együtt az Erõszak Ellen (NANE), a non-profit women's rights organization in Hungary, indicated, in a report sent to the Research Directorate , that, "[a]ccording to the data from the Investigation Authorities' and Prosecutor's Office's Unified Crime Statistics System," between 2013 and 2017, 1,275 cases, of which 1,172 related to women and 103 to men, were registered as domestic violence in Hungary; cases are registered once the investigation authority has completed its procedures (NANE Aug. 2018). The same source added that "[t]he number of registered cases … is considered to be low in light of the scale of the phenomenon" (NANE Aug. 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
In a 2015 interview published by PassBlue, a digital publication that provides independent coverage of the UN, Judit Wirth, a founder of NANE, explains that the prevalence of domestic violence in Hungary is "'[v]ery similar' to other European countries," with a prevalence of one in every four or five women (PassBlue 30 Apr. 2015). Similarly, according to a 2014 European Union (EU) Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey based on interviews in Hungary, since the age of 15, 21 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current and/or previous partner; in comparison with 22 percent of women in the EU (EU Mar. 2014, 28-29). However, according to the same source, Hungary "stands out among the countries surveyed" in the following way:
According to the interview alone, 19 % of women in Hungary have experienced physical violence by a partner since the age of 15, but the prevalence of this form of violence reaches 33 % if the experiences indicated in the self-completion questionnaire are added to those experiences shared during the interview. (EU Mar. 2014, 33)
The report produced by the UN Human Rights Council working group on discrimination against women indicates that, according to information provided by the Hungarian authorities, in 2015, approximately 88 women died from domestic violence, and that this number represents 43 percent of all murders in 2015 (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 83). According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU (EU n.d.), in Hungary, 24 women were victims of intentional homicide by an intimate partner in 2016 (EU 10 July 2018). According to NANE's report, based on data provided by the Ministry of Interior, between 2013 and 2017, 208 men and 281 women died of homicide committed by a relative; of the 281 female victims, 150 were killed by their intimate partner (NANE Aug. 2018). In the 2015 interview, NANE's co-founder Judit Wirth explains that "'Hungary has about six times the rate of domestic-violence murders of women than in Sweden, which is about the same [size] in [terms of] population'" (PassBlue 30 Apr. 2015).
1.1 Roma Communities
A 2016 report by the Council of Europe indicates that women within Roma communities in Europe are "particularly" exposed to domestic violence (Council of Europe 2 Mar. 2016, 5). Similarly, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) explains that in Hungary, Roma face problems, including "gender-based domestic violence" (MRG Jan. 2018).
According to sources, data on domestic violence by ethnicity are not available for Hungary (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018; NANE 12 July 2018). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a senior lecturer in sociology at the Mälardalen University in Sweden, whose areas of expertise include gender, Roma people and Hungary, stated that Roma women are "not more victimized" than non-Roma women (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). However, the same source stated that "Roma women have a much lower employment rate" in Hungary, compared to women in general, and that "[w]omen with no independent means [tend to] stay in violent relations due to a lack of resources … [therefore] Roma women have fewer ways out" of situations of domestic violence (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). Similarly, according to MRG, Roma women are at risk of domestic violence "as a result of poverty and the patriarchal values of their community" (MRG Jan. 2018). According to NANE, based on their experience working with Roma and non-Roma women, the difficulties faced by women in situations of domestic violence are the same (including "fear, … and lack of outside support and legal remedies"), whether Roma or non-Roma, although the differences "are most likely to stem from the general social and economic exclusion, deprivation and isolation of Roma people in Hungary," and that they "seem to see even fewer chances of getting out of domestic violence" (NANE Aug. 2018). The same source further explained that Roma women, "being usually in [much] worse economic situations," face difficulties in making arrangements related to their escape or relocation ("transportation, housing, [and access to adequate food] without the contribution of their partner") or even to contact the police, "as they are less likely to possess mobile phones of their own, [or] even a landline [in their home]" (NANE Aug. 2018). Because "some of the procedures cost money," for example for the issuance of medical certificates regarding injuries, they are also "less likely to be able to access legal remedies and redress, or even to initiate criminal proceedings against the perpetrator" (NANE Aug. 2018). NANE also mentioned that when Roma women have children, it may be "difficult" for them to relocate due to "general prejudices and growing public sentiment against Roma children in schools" (NANE Aug. 2018).
According to sources, domestic violence is prohibited in Hungary (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 81; Freedom House 2018; US 20 Apr. 2018, 29), as is spousal rape (US 20 Apr. 2018, 28; Freedom House 2018). According to a 2017 submission by Hungary to the UN, section 212/A of the Criminal Code refers to the crime of "'relationship violence'" (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 123). Section 212/A of the Criminal Code, on domestic violence, provides that:
- Any person who, on a regular basis:
- seriously violates human dignity or is engaged in any degrading and violent conduct,
- misappropriates or conceals any assets from conjugal or common property, and thus causing serious deprivation, against the parent of his/her child, or against a family member, former spouse or domestic partner living in the same household or dwelling at the time of commission or previously, against his/her conservator, person under conservatorship, guardian or person under guardianship is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not exceeding two years, insofar as the act did not result in a more serious criminal offense.
- Any person who commits:
- battery under Subsection (2) of Section 164 or slander under Subsection (2) of Section 227 against a person defined in Subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years;
- battery under Subsections (3) and (4) of Section 164, or violation of personal freedom or duress under Subsection (1) of Section 194 against a person defined in Subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years.
- Banishment may also be imposed against persons found guilty of domestic violence.
- The perpetrator of the criminal offense defined in Subsection (1) shall only be prosecuted upon private motion. (Hungary 2012, Sec. 212/A)
In the report submitted to the UN in 2017, Hungary explains the following regarding the Criminal Code provisions on domestic violence:
The Criminal Code punishes violent behaviours that do not reach the level of physical violence, yet severely injure the victim’s human dignity, or cause economic impossibility. At the same time, the new criminal conducts ensure criminal law protection in such an early stage, that the investigative authority may only take action on the basis of a private motion - as only the victim of the conflict can judge whether or not he/she requires intervention from the authorities. Otherwise, initiating criminal proceedings is still not conditional on filing a private motion in case of conducts that qualify as a more severe form of the new criminal offence.
… [T]he list of victims that could fall under the concept of relatives … include[es] former spouses, former life-partners, custodians, persons under custody, guardians and persons under guardianship.
For realizing the commission of the crime, besides belonging to this special group of victims, the Criminal Code requires cohabitation or former cohabitation with regard to defencelessness and vulnerability of people resulting from cohabitation. Nevertheless, cohabitation is not required should the concerned persons have a child. An additional condition, for similar reasons, is that the committal must happen on a regular basis. In case of qualified form of the offence no private motion is needed. (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 123-125)
The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017 indicates that, in Hungary, NGOs advocating for women's rights criticized the law pertaining to domestic violence "for not placing sufficient emphasis on the accountability of perpetrators" (US 20 Apr. 2018, 29). According to the UN Human Rights Committee, the Hungarian Criminal Code "does not fully protect women victims of domestic violence" because it does not "explicitly refer to sexual offences as a form of domestic violence" and because it imposes the following requirements for "violent behaviour that does not reach the level of battery": "(a) that the victim file a private complaint; (b) that the victim and the abuser were or are in cohabitation or have joint children; and (c) that at least two separate instances of domestic violence occurred within a short time frame" (UN 9 May 2018, para. 25). A professor at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, whose research interests include women's movements in Hungary, gender equality, and the role of women's organizations in post-communist countries, similarly indicated that, "[d]espite the legal modification since 2013, the conditions have not yet improved regarding domestic violence," emphasizing that the offense of "violence within relationships," as provided by the Hungarian Criminal Code, excludes "'non-cohabitating partners'" and that intervention requires "'repeated abuse'" (Professor 30 July 2018).
According to sources, laws and regulations related to domestic violence are "improper[ly]" applied in Hungary (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43), or their application "remained problematic" (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 83). Sources note that prosecution of domestic violence in Hungary is "limited" (Amnesty International 22 Feb. 2018, 189) or is "rare" (NANE Aug. 2018). NANE indicated that although battery cases involving "light bodily harm - defined by the injury healing within eight days" are punishable with imprisonment by law, in practice, perpetrators "only" receive fines that "are usually paid by the common household budget" (NANE Aug. 2018).
2.1 Restraining Orders
According to sources, Act No. LXXVII of 2009 introduced a system for the issuance of restraining orders (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 82; Wirth , 6) in cases of violence among relatives (Wirth , 6); this includes "former spouses, former registered - same sex or heterosexual - partners and those being in trusteeship and guardianship relation" and excludes "former common law spouses, and current and former intimate partners not living in marriage or common-law marriage" (Wirth , 10). US Country Reports 2017 indicates that "police called to a scene of domestic violence may issue an emergency restraining order valid for three days in lieu of immediately filing charges, while courts may issue up to 60-day 'preventive restraining orders' in civil cases, without the option to extend" (US 20 Apr. 2018, 29). The report produced by the UN Human Rights Council working group on discrimination against women indicates that "government interlocutors" in Hungary "regretted that restraining orders issued by the police were only valid for 72 hours and could be extended by a court for a maximum of 60 days" (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 82). In a report on protection orders in Hungary, NANE's co-founder Judit Wirth explains that restraining orders are issued by the police or the court upon the request of the victim or their relatives, or by the police (ex officio or upon referral to the court) (Wirth , 8).
According to NANE's report, and based on "yearly reports of the National Police Headquarters on the implementation of police tasks regarding the temporary preventive restraining [order] applicable for violence between relatives," 1,410 "temporary preventive restraining orders" were issued by the Hungarian police in 2016, and 1,427 were issued in 2017 (NANE Aug. 2018). According to the same source, based on information from the Hungarian National Office for the Judiciary, there were 2,701 cases of "[p]reventive restraining order[s]" before the courts of first instance in Hungary in 2016, and 2,526 cases in 2017 (NANE Aug. 2018). NANE explained that there is no information on the "merit of the case[s]," including "whether or not the restraining order was issued" (NANE Aug. 2018).
The same source also noted that "[b]ecause of lengthy court procedures," restraining orders are "typically" issued after "several weeks of delay," during which the victim is exposed to the perpetrator (NANE Aug. 2018). NANE indicated that restraining orders "are not effectively used in practice," that the police "find ways" to not use them, and that it is "usual" for protection orders to be issued "in cases where the violence and injury would legitimate taking the perpetrator into custody (i.e. restraining [orders] [are] used instead of [taking into custody])" (NANE Aug. 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
3. State Protection
According to the report produced by the UN Human Rights Council working group on discrimination against women, awareness of domestic violence "has increased [in] recent years" in Hungary (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 81). The report submitted by Hungary to the UN in 2017 indicates that a media campaign entitled "'Notice it!'," intended to raise awareness about signs of domestic violence and to encourage victims to get help, was carried out in 2015 and 2016 by the Hungarian Interchurch Aid, with financial support from the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 121). However, the Senior Lecturer indicated that there is "low awareness" of domestic violence in institutions in Hungary (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018).
According to Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE), a network composed of European women's NGOs (WAVE n.d.), Hungary does not have "a specific national action plan" to address violence against women (WAVE Mar. 2018, 65). Similarly, US Country Reports 2016 indicates that, according to NGOs, "a comprehensive prevention, protection, and prosecution approach was missing from the state's response to domestic violence" in Hungary (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43).
The report submitted by Hungary to the UN explains that, among the measures to combat violence against women, a program called "Peacekeeping in local communities" for the training of law enforcement personnel was implemented, and guidelines for best practices for police departments were published (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 127). In contrast, according to the report produced by the UN Human Rights Council working group on discrimination against women, "gender-sensitive training for law enforcement actors was inexistent, resulting in inefficient and ineffective response to cases of violence against women" (UN 21 Apr. 2017, para. 83). Similarly, sources report that, in regard to domestic violence, there is a lack of systematic training for professionals (US 3 Mar. 2017, 48; NANE Aug. 2018), such as for justice and law enforcement personnel who do not receive "obligatory[,] adequate and meaningful training programs" (NANE Aug. 2018).
According to the UN Human Rights Committee, domestic violence is "underreported" in Hungary and police response is "inadequate" (UN 9 May 2018, para. 25). NANE indicated that women often "think they filed a [police] report" after calling the police to the premises and explaining to the officers that "they want to start a case, and then it turns out that the police did not consider that to be an official report" (NANE Aug. 2018). According to the same source, the police are "often biased" and "often question the victim's credibility" in cases of domestic violence (NANE Aug. 2018). Similarly, a 2017 commentary posted on NewsMavens, a website that aims to provide the perspective of women journalists on news in Europe, reports that, according to an article published by Népszava, a Hungarian newspaper, women in Hungary are "reluctant" to report abuse and that in police stations and courts, they are "often confronted with a hostile environment. There is a culture of victim-blaming from both authorities and social circles" (Körösi 28 Nov. 2017).
3.1.1 Roma Victims
NANE indicated that Roma victims they interacted with "seem be to reporting the same initial obstacles as non-Roma [victims], regarding [a] lack of response from the police" (NANE Aug. 2018). However, the same source also noted that there is "well-documented discrimination and hostility of law-enforcement agencies … against Roma people," which is "likely" to negatively impact Roma victims' decision to contact the police (NANE Aug. 2018). The Professor also indicated that, due to a "highly discriminatory social and political environment, few if any Roma would reach out to the police for help" (Professor 30 July 2018). MRG explains the following:
Despite the passing of a law in July 2013 specifically criminalizing domestic violence for the first time, human rights groups have highlighted the ongoing protection gaps for women in Hungary, particularly Roma women, who are especially at risk … due to their exclusion and mistrust of police and the judiciary. (MRG Jan. 2018)
Similarly, in 2013, Human Rights Watch reported that for Roma women, in particular, a "[l]ack of confidence in the police … impedes reporting" of domestic violence (Human Rights Watch Nov. 2013, 3). According to a 2013 country report on Hungary, published by the European Parliament, in "only" 20 percent of cases in which Roma women experienced domestic violence, the victim sought police assistance and the police responded "effectively" in "only 1 out of 7 cases" (EU Sept. 2013, 34).
NANE stated that, based on its experience providing training to police officers regarding domestic violence, "[t]he general view is that it is common and 'normal' for Roma women to accept abuse and for Roma men to be regularly abusive," and that it is not "uncommon to meet stereotyping (even profiling) attitudes among police regarding Roma women and men in general, and domestic violence in Roma communities in particular" (NANE Aug. 2018). The same source noted that, during a training session, a police officer stated that beating up a woman three to four times a day, "'like those gypsies'," would be considered "'regular'" abuse; NANE explained that "'[r]egularity' has a legal relevance since it is a condition for the criminal offence of domestic violence" (NANE Aug. 2018).
NANE also noted that when Roma women contact the police, the reaction of the police "does not seem to be fundamentally different," in comparison with non-Roma women, although "economic status appears to be more of a determining factor, [and] a higher economic status … often seems to be working in favour of the perpetrator" (NANE Aug. 2018). According to the same source, "[p]rejudices against Roma men … may result in easier short term arrests [although] … it does not appear to lead to more investigations and/or convictions of Roma men [based] on domestic violence charges than … for non-Roma men" (NANE Aug. 2018).
The Senior Lecturer indicated that in Hungary, mothers who are victims of domestic violence might fear that their children will be "institutionali[zed]" if they seek protection, and that Roma children are "taken from their families" to a "higher degree," compared to Hungarian children in general (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). Similarly, the Professor stated that Roma are "threaten[ed]" by "the government child-support agency that has regularly removed children from their birth families, citing abuse or [an] unsanitary environment and placed them in orphanages/foster care" (Professor 30 July 2018).
According to a 2016 report  by PATENT Association (PATENT), a Hungarian women's rights organization that provides legal aid and psychological assistance to victims of violence against women (PATENT 11 Apr. 2016, 5), "many" judges are not trained to deal with cases of domestic and intimate partner violence and "often have prejudices that make them blind to the reality of battered women" (PATENT 11 Apr. 2016, 6). The same source indicates specific instances in which judges:
- were "attentive and helpful when dealing with victims of violence";
- were "considerate and asked more questions than usual" in cases that were not "'simple'," for example when the perpetrator was a foreign national, a drug user, or committed sexual assault against the perpetrator's daughters;
- "often [held] women equally responsible for the abuse committed by men";
- showed "bias, prejudices and neglect[ed] abuse";
- were "nervous and impatient with victims of violence";
- "urged the parties to 'make peace'" in criminal cases of physical abuse;
- "criticized battered women for going back to the batterer";
- "neglected [domestic violence] or blamed the victims" (PATENT 11 Apr. 2016, 12-16).
The same source indicates that according to interviews with 15 clients of PATENT's Legal Aid Service who had to deal with "different authorities and courts," problems were encountered, including the following:
- refusal to consider making reports to the police;
- "neglect [of] issues of battering even in cases [of] serious physical injuries";
- "procedural harassment" where judges "try to persuade them to 'make peace' with the batterer and drop charges";
- "judges who do not let women speak about battering";
- judges who "let the legal representative of battering husbands degrade and humiliate the woman";
- recorded summaries of women's statements that are "inexact"; and
- judges who see battering as "a conflict between equal parties" (PATENT 11 Apr. 2016, 21).
Similarly, according to an informational pamphlet prepared by NANE, "[o]fficials and practitioners in the criminal justice system (including attorneys, judges[,] etc.), the law enforcement and health care professions show little sympathy or understanding for the victims, as well as virtually no knowledge of the realities of violence against women" (NANE n.d.). NANE, in its report sent to the Research Directorate, also indicated that judges "discretionar[il]y" decide whether or not to send copies of court orders or decisions to victims of domestic violence and that victims "have not been warned before the perpetrator is released from jail" (NANE Aug. 2018).
The PATENT report adds that another problem outlined by clients they interviewed was in regard to "forced visitation rights; even though the children are terrified of the battering father, women are threatened with high penalties and told to take the children to a psychologist to prepare them for spending days with the batterer" (PATENT 11 Apr. 2016, 21). Similarly, US Country Reports 2016 indicates that, according to NGOs, "courts and child protection authorities generally failed to recognize and take into account domestic violence in custody and visitation cases and forced visitation remained a widespread practice in the case of children with abusive parents" (US 3 Mar. 2017, 42).
4. Support Services
According to sources, in Hungary, there is a 24-hour toll-free number operated by the government that provides information to victims of domestic violence (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 130; US 20 Apr. 2018, 29; WAVE Mar. 2018, 64), and that coordinates immediate placement of victims in shelters (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 130; US 20 Apr. 2018, 29); it is called the National Crisis Telephone Information Service (OKIT in Hungarian) (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 130). The Professor stated that the "government-sponsored hotline (which is run by an ecumenical Christian organization) is poorly advertised and few people would be able to access it" (Professor 30 July 2018). According to US Country Reports 2016, 2,067 calls were made to the hotline in 2015 (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43). Sources indicate that there were 256 cases of institutional placement in 2015 (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43; Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 130), affecting 759 individuals, including 252 women, 3 men and 504 children (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 130).
Sources indicate that NANE runs a free helpline for victims of violence against women and children (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64; NANE n.d.) that is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week (NANE n.d.). According to NANE, the objective of the service is to provide "emotional support" to callers, provide them with information about legal options, and refer them to other services (NANE n.d.). The same source explains that they have 15 trained volunteers to operate the line and that they receive approximately 60 calls per week (NANE n.d.). According to the Professor, NANE’s helpline has become "much less accessible due to now a decade-long struggle for funds," and its ability to "offer legal help" has also "dramatically" declined due to insufficient funds (Professor 30 July 2018). PATENT indicates on its website that they offer legal aid and psychological information to women victims of "relationship violence"; the service is available "via telephone from 4 pm until 6 pm every Wednesday and from 10 am until 12 pm every Thursday," as well as "non-stop" via email (PATENT n.d.).
According to sources, there are state-run shelters [also called crisis centres] in Hungary for victims of domestic violence (US 20 Apr. 2018, 29; Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 128). Sources specify that there are 15 shelters in Hungary (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43; Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 128; WAVE Mar. 2018, 64) for victims of domestic violence, including their children (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 128). Sources indicate that they provide accommodation and "complex care" for 30 days, which "can be extended for an additional 30 days" (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 128) or for up to 90 days (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43). According to sources, there is also a "Secret Shelter House" (US 20 Apr. 2018, 29; Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 129; WAVE Mar. 2018, 64) for victims of domestic violence whose lives are in danger (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 129; US 20 Apr. 2018, 29); clients are referred to this shelter "exclusively" through the National Crisis Telephone Information Service (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 129). According to sources, the shelters in Hungary include a combined total of approximately 127 to 140 beds (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43; WAVE Mar. 2018, 64; NANE Aug. 2018). According to sources, having children is not a condition to access shelter services (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 128; WAVE Mar. 2018, 64). WAVE explains that shelters are located in all regions and offer 24-hour access (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64). According to US Country Reports 2016, 996 individuals benefited from the shelters in Hungary in 2015; during that year, the Hungarian government "increased funding for shelters by 50 percent and for the secret shelter house by 100 percent" (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43). According to sources, the Hungarian government operates six "halfway houses" that offer long-term accommodation (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43; Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 131; WAVE Mar. 2018, 64), for a maximum of five years, and professional reintegration assistance to prevent secondary victimization (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43; Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para 131) as well as "legal and psychological help" (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para 131). Without providing further details on their current operational status, NANE indicated that, based on information provided by the Hungarian government, 5 new crisis centres and 11 new halfway houses were contracted in 2017 (NANE Aug. 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
According to sources, services offered to victims of violence in Hungary are limited in terms of availability (US 20 Apr. 2018, 29; NANE n.d.) or access (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64; Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). According to Freedom House, in Hungary, "NGOs describe government responses to violence against women as inadequate" (Freedom House 2018). The Senior Lecturer said that support services for victims of domestic violence are "poor" in Hungary (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). The UN Human Rights Committee reports that "access to shelters remains insufficient" in Hungary (UN 9 May 2018, para. 25). WAVE reports that Hungary does not meet the minimum standards of the Istanbul Convention in terms of shelters and that 843 beds are missing (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64). According to NANE, and based on calls they receive from victims, "many times, no place is available" and there is "often" a waiting list and, "in cases where the danger is not imminent, women often wait to get a place" (NANE Aug. 2018).
Based on information provided on the website of a Budapest-based non-profit organization, NANE noted that a new type of service called a "crisis ambulance" has been offered since 2018 in Kaposvár; the service is planned to be offered in Mosonmagyaróvár, Szolnok, Miskolc and Orosháza (NANE Aug. 2018). According to NANE, this service provides "walk-in consultation without accommodation for domestic violence cases" (NANE Aug. 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
US Country Reports 2016 indicates that, according to NGOs advocating for women's rights, there is a lack of transparency in regard to services offered to survivors of violence against women in Hungary (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43). WAVE indicates that there is no cooperation between state services and NGOs working to prevent violence against women in Hungary (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64). According to sources, there are no women's NGOs that run shelters in Hungary (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64; NANE Aug. 2018), and that instead, they are operated by "[other] NGOs, faith-based organizations [and] social organizations" (WAVE Mar. 2018, 64) or by charity organizations, either church or non-religious, or by local municipalities (NANE Aug. 2018).
According to a July 2017 article published on the website of the School of Global and International Studies (SGIS) at Indiana University, Marty Pack, whose master's thesis was on domestic violence in Eastern European countries, indicated that "[d]omestic sources of funding are inadequate to support many Hungarian educational and social welfare organizations … including NANE - the country's oldest domestic violence agency - which faces closure as a result" (SGIS 6 July 2017). Similarly, the Professor stated that the "few" independent women's rights NGOs that exist in Hungary, including NANE, "struggle to survive" (Professor 30 July 2018). Following its February 2018 visit in Hungary, the European Parliament's Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee notes "the difficult conditions in which independent [NGOs] and individual experts on gender rights operate" in Hungary (EU 22 Feb. 2018).
The report submitted by Hungary to the UN in 2017 explains that the Secret Shelter House is located in Budapest and that it offers services such as "confidential accommodation, [a] full range of physical assistance, [and] complex crisis management" (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 129). Sources explain that the Secret Shelter House allows for a stay of up to six months (Hungary 7 Feb. 2017, para. 129; US 3 Mar. 2017, 43) and has a capacity of 29 beds (US 3 Mar. 2017, 43).
4.2 Outside of Budapest, Including in Miskolc and Debrecen
The Senior Lecturer explained that the conditions related to the protection of victims of domestic violence are "poorer" outside of Budapest and that "generally," small municipalities "lack facilities" to accommodate women and mothers with children who are victims of domestic violence (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). The same source further explained that the location has a significant impact on the victim's ability to seek or obtain support services; those services are "least accessible in socially and/or spatially remote areas" (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
Information on support services in Miskolc was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. According to a 2016 article written by Dániel Ritter, an architect who designed a "mothers' home" in Miskolc, there are three mothers' homes in Miskolc (ArchitectForum.eu 16 Apr. 2016). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. The same source explains that a "[m]others' home is a residential shelter which provides a safe haven for women in crisis" (ArchitectForum.eu 16 Apr. 2016), while NANE indicated that "mother's homes" accommodate "women with children" (NANE Aug. 2018). NANE explained that mothers' homes "require a small fee," that some only accept applicants from the same city or county, and that, based on work with NANE's clients who had previously stayed in this type of shelter, these facilities "are neither safe nor particularly well trained to support domestic violence victims, although some try their best" (NANE Aug. 2018).
Information on support services in Debrecen could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
4.3 Roma Communities
Sources indicated that there are no support services for domestic violence that aim to serve the Roma community in particular (NANE Aug. 2018; Professor 30 July 2018). According to the Senior Lecturer, accessing help in Roma communities is "multiply hindered" because their "networks are limited to the segregated community"; Roma women lack resources and victims of violence fear being excluded from the community if they report violence, as they could be seen as "shaming their communities [and/or] relatives" (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). The Professor noted that "social and economic networks between Roma families are binding (in part to support survival)" (Professor 30 July 2018).
The Senior Lecturer indicated that Roma NGOs and minority self-governments "seldom raise" issues related to domestic violence as these are "male dominated" and fear it would "stigmatize Roma at large" (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). The same source added that Roma women's organizations "are also cautious," although help to individual victims does occur (Senior Lecturer 12 July 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
 The information provided by NANE comes from a report prepared by a policy officer at NANE, with the collaboration of a legal expert, also affiliated with NANE (NANE Aug. 2018).
 The report published by PATENT includes volunteers' observations and evaluations of the treatment of victims of domestic and intimate partner violence, as well as the treatment of the issue by judges; it is based on 117 monitoring sheets of volunteers who attended 85 court hearings (60 in Budapest and 25 in other cities; 45 were criminal cases and 40 were civil cases) (PATENT 11 Apr. 2016, 10).
Amnesty International. 22 February 2018. "Hungary." Amnesty International Report 2017/18: The State of the World's Human Rights. [Accessed 3 July 2018]
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Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: The Advocates for Human Rights – Stop Violence Against Women; assistant professor of Romani studies in Hungary; Colourful Pearls Association for Southerner Roma Women; European Roma Rights Centre; Hungarian Women's Lobby; Junior Research Fellow who does research on gender equality and minority rights in Hungary; PATENT Association.
Internet sites, including: The Advocates for Human Rights – Stop Violence Against Women; Equinet; European Roma Rights Centre; European Union – European Institute for Gender Equality; Hungarian Spectrum; Hungarian Women's Lobby; Hungary – Government; International Women's Health Coalition; UN – Refworld.