Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. The government generally enforced the law. Law enforcement response to rape and domestic violence was effective. Women’s NGOs estimated charges were filed in 10 percent of rape cases and only 13 percent of those led to convictions, due to lack of credible evidence.
Domestic violence is punishable under the criminal code provisions for murder, rape, sexual abuse, and bodily injury. There were reports of violence against women, including spousal abuse. Police can issue a two-week order barring abusive family members from contact with survivors. The order can be extended to four weeks, and a court may further extend the order.
Under the law the government provided psychosocial care in addition to legal aid and support throughout the judicial process to survivors of gender-based violence. Police training programs addressed sexual or gender-based violence and domestic abuse.
The government funded privately operated intervention centers and hotlines for victims of domestic abuse. The centers provided for victims’ safety, assessed the threat posed by perpetrators, helped victims develop plans to stop the abuse, and provided legal counseling and other social services. NGOs reported these centers were generally effective in providing shelter for victims of abuse.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, and the government generally enforced the law. Labor courts may order employers to compensate victims of sexual harassment based on the Federal Equality Commission’s finding in a case. The law entitles a victim to a minimum of 1,000 euros ($1,100) in compensation.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights as men. Discrimination in employment and occupation occurred with respect to women.
Birth Registration: By law children derive citizenship from one or both parents. Officials register births immediately.
Child Abuse: Child abuse is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, which may be extended to 10 years if the victim dies because of negligence. Severe sexual abuse or rape of a minor is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, which may be increased to life imprisonment if the victim dies because of the abuse.
The government continued its efforts to monitor child abuse and prosecute offenders. The Ministry for Economics, Family, and Youth estimated close family members or family friends committed 90 percent of child abuse. Officials noted a growing readiness to report cases of such abuse.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum legal age for marriage is 18. Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 may legally contract a marriage if they obtain a special permit for this purpose. NGOs estimated there were approximately 200 cases of early marriage annually, primarily in the Muslim and Romani communities.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law provides up to 10 years’ imprisonment for an adult convicted of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 14, the minimum age for consensual sex. If the victim becomes pregnant, the sentence may be extended to 15 years.
It is a crime to possess, trade, or privately view child pornography. Exchanging pornographic videos of children is illegal. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, while trading in child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
According to figures compiled by the Austrian Jewish Community (AJC), there are between 12,000 and 15,000 Jews in Austria, of whom an estimated 8,000 persons are members of the AJC.
The NGO Forum against Anti-Semitism reported 465 anti-Semitic incidents during 2015. These included two physical assaults in addition to name calling, graffiti and defacement, threatening letters, dissemination of anti-Semitic writings, property damage, and vilifying letters and telephone calls. Of these, 205 cases of anti-Semitic internet postings were reported, more than double the previous year’s number. The government provided protection to the AJC’s offices and other Jewish community institutions in the country, such as schools and museums. The AJC noted rising fears that increasing anti-Islamic activities by the extreme right would increase anti-Semitism, with the extreme right targeting both groups as religious minorities. They also reported increasing fears of anti-Semitic activity from Muslim refugees.
In March the Vienna prosecutor’s office investigated an individual who had posted anti-Semitic messages at the Vienna Jewish Museum and other Jewish institutions. There were several cases of neo-Nazi-related vandalism and hate speech, including death threats and hate speech on the internet.
School curricula included discussion of the Holocaust, the tenets of different religious groups, and advocacy of religious tolerance. The Education Ministry offered special teacher training seminars on Holocaust education and conducted training projects with the Anti-Defamation League.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in housing, employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, and other government services. The government did not effectively enforce these provisions. Employment discrimination against persons with disabilities occurred.
While federal law mandates access to public buildings for persons with physical disabilities, NGOs complained many public buildings lacked such access due to insufficient enforcement of the law and low penalties for noncompliance. The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Consumer Protection handled disability-related problems. The government funded a wide range of programs for persons with disabilities, including transportation and other assistance to help integrate schoolchildren with disabilities into regular classes and employees with disabilities into the workplace.
Interior Ministry statistics released in March cited 523 neo-Nazi, right-wing extremist, xenophobic, or anti-Semitic incidents in 2015. The government continued to express concern over the activities of extreme right-wing and neo-Nazi groups, many with links to organizations in other countries.
An NGO operating a hotline for victims of racist incidents reported receiving 927 complaints in 2015. It reported that racist internet postings had nearly doubled from 2014 and had, in particular, been directed against migrants and asylum seekers, refugee shelters, and NGOs assisting them.
The Islamic Faith Community’s documentation center for reporting Islamophobic incidents noted that such incidents increased markedly from only a few cases in April and May to 20 in June and July, following terrorist incidents in Western Europe.
Federal law recognizes Croats, Czechs, Hungarians, Roma, Slovaks, and Slovenes as national minorities. Human rights groups continued to report that Roma faced discrimination in employment and housing. The Austrian Romani Cultural Association estimated the Romani community consisted of more than 6,200 indigenous and between 15,000 and 20,000 nonindigenous individuals. The head of the association reported the situation of Roma continued to improve. Government programs, including financing for tutors, helped school-age Romani children move out of “special needs” programs and into mainstream classes.
NGOs reported that Africans living in the country were verbally harassed or subjected to violence in public. In some cases citizens stigmatized black Africans for perceived involvement in the drug trade or other illegal activities.
The government continued training programs to combat racism and educate police in cultural sensitivity. The Interior Ministry renewed an annual agreement with a Jewish group to teach police officers cultural sensitivity, religious tolerance, and the acceptance of minorities.
Poor German-language skills were a major factor preventing members of minorities, particularly refugees, from entering the workforce. The Labor and Integration Ministries continued efforts to improve the situation by providing German-language instruction and skilled-labor training to young persons with immigrant backgrounds. Compulsory preschool programs, including some one- and two-year pilot programs, sought to remedy language deficiencies for nonnative German speakers.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Antidiscrimination laws apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons. There was some societal prejudice against LGBTI persons but no reports of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Hate crime laws prohibit incitement, including incitement based on sexual orientation. LGBTI organizations generally operated freely. Civil society groups, however, criticized the lack of a mechanism to prevent service providers from discriminating against LGBTI individuals.
A 2015 Constitutional Court ruling provided for the possibility for adoption by same-sex couples as of January.