Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is a criminal offense. Penalties for rape and sexual violence vary between six months’ and 15 years’ imprisonment, depending on the degree of violence and humiliation of the victim, and between 10 years’ and lifetime imprisonment if the victim is killed. The penalties are the same for rapes of women and men. The government effectively prosecuted individuals accused of such crimes.
The law prohibits all forms of domestic violence and provides for restraining orders against violent family members. Police may prohibit an abuser from returning to the victim’s home where the violence was committed. Penalties for domestic violence range from monetary fines to lifetime imprisonment if the victim is killed. According to the law, victims who migrated to the country and who have been married to a citizen for less than five years are required to prove their victim status or sufficient integration into the country’s society to avoid losing their marriage-based residence permits. The government enforced the law effectively.
There were reports of violence against women, including spousal abuse. Police reported 32 cases of domestic violence in 2019.
Witnesses’ willingness to testify in abuse cases sometimes limited efforts to prosecute cases. In July the court acquitted a 28-year-old who in April allegedly hit and kicked his wife several times, including allegedly throwing a drawer at her. Since the wife, being the only witness, did not testify, the court acquitted the defendant for lack of evidence.
In April the Equal Opportunities Department of the Social Services Office sent out emergency cards labeled “violence has no home” in eight different languages that included updated contact addresses and guidelines for addressing domestic violence.
In 2019 the country’s only women’s shelter, Frauenhaus, assisted 13 women.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is illegal and punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine, and the government effectively enforced these prohibitions. Stalking is a criminal offense. The government also considers “mobbing,” including pressure, harassment, or blackmail tactics in the workplace, to be a crime. In 2019 the national police recorded three cases of sexual harassment, and the women’s resource and counseling NGO Infra assisted in 21 cases of sexual harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children and had access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. Sex education at schools was obligatory; contraceptive methods were first taught when students were approximately 11 years old. The government provided access to sexual and reproductive health services for survivors of sexual violence.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights as men. The government’s enforcement of the labor contract law and equal opportunity law was not entirely effective. The LHRA and the NGO umbrella organization Women’s Network stated that a lack of human and financial resources as well as inadequate strategies and competencies prevented the Department for Equal Opportunity from effectively enforcing the law. According to the LHRA, long-term strategies and policies for equal opportunities were lacking and no central coordination office for integration existed. The Women’s Network asserted that the government increasingly relinquished its responsibilities regarding equal opportunity policies to NGOs.