If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can report the abuse at a police station, to a state attorney’s office or a social welfare centre and many institutions and non-governmental organisations also provide assistance to victims of abuse
Where can you report domestic abuse?If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can report the abuse at a police station, to a state attorney’s office or a social welfare centre. All authorities competent to act regarding domestic abuse have to act immediately.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, it is also important to know that medical professionals, employees of social welfare institutions, religious institutions, humanitarian or civil society organisations, education institutions and all other professionals who come in contact with victims of domestic abuse in their work have to report to the police or a state attorney’s office any case of domestic abuse they learn about while performing their duties.
Pursuant to the Act on the Protection Against Domestic Abuse, domestic abuse includes:
1) Application of physical force without physical injury
2) Physical punishment or any other form of degrading treatment of children
3) Emotional abuse which results in the violation of the victim’s dignity or their distress
4) Sexual harassment
5) Economic abuse such as prohibiting or preventing a person to use shared or personal assets or dispose of personal income or assets acquired through their own efforts or as inheritance, preventing a person to find employment, withholding funds for upkeep of the shared household and care for children
6) Neglect of the needs of a disabled or elderly person which results in their distress or violates their dignity and thus causes them physical or emotional pain.
Victims of domestic abuse have the following rights:
1) Right to access support services for victims of domestic violence
2) Right to efficient psychological and other expert assistance and support provided by an authority, organisation or institution assisting victims of domestic abuse
3) Right to be protected from intimidation and retaliation
4) Right to protection of the victim’s dignity while they are being examined as a witness
5) Right to be accompanied by a person of trust when participating in any procedures
6) Right to be informed at their request and without undue delay of the defendant’s release from detention or escape, the decision on safety measures being repealed or the precautionary measures introduced for their safety being abolished, or the convict’s release from imprisonment
7) Right to confidentiality of the information the disclosure of which could jeopardise their safety or safety of the persons from Article (8)(1) and (2) of the Act, and the right to request exclusion of the general public from the hearing
8) Right to an attorney in the proceedings
9) Right to be informed, at their request, of the action taken based on their report and the outcome of the proceedings
10) Right to be examined, without undue delay, after filing a report, the right to request to be examined in the court proceedings and that subsequent examinations are done only to the extent required by the misdemeanour proceedings
11) Right to be examined in the police station by the person of the same sex
12) Right to avoid contact with the offender before and during the proceedings, unless such contact is required by the misdemeanour proceedings
13) Right to temporary accommodation in the appropriate institution pursuant to the special act
14) Right to police protection and security, as ordered by the court, for the purpose of undisturbed pick-up of personal belongings when moving from the shared household
15) Other rights prescribed by the act regulating criminal proceedings, except for those rights which are, by the nature of the matter, only granted to victims of criminal offences
Rights of victims of domestic abuse in the social welfare systemIf you are a victim of domestic abuse, expert employees of a social welfare centre have to do the following when acting on suspected domestic abuse:
- Inform you or your legal representative or guardian of your legal rights
- Inform you of the option to be placed together with your underage children in a shelter or home for domestic abuse victims in cooperation with the appropriate non-governmental organisations
- Develop a safety plan with you as a victim of abuse
- Intermediate and assist you with exercising your right to free legal aid and representation from the Croatian Bar Association
- Assist you and intermediate with respect to exercising your right to free healthcare
- Refer you to an appropriate counselling centre.