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. Police can issue, and courts may extend, an order barring abusive family members from contact with survivors.
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.
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; the law entitles a victim to a minimum of 1,000 euros ($1,200) in compensation. The women’s ministry and the labor chamber regularly provided information to the public on how to address sexual harassment.
Coercion in Population Control: Coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods did not occur. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights as men but were subject to discrimination in employment and occupation.
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. 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 incidents 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 by special permit and parental consent or court action. 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 15 years’ imprisonment for an adult convicted of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 14, the minimum age for consensual sex. It is a crime to possess, trade, or privately view child pornography. Possession of or 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 (IKG), there are between 12,000 and 15,000 Jews in the country, of whom an estimated 8,000 were members of the IKG.
The IKG expressed concerns that anti-Semitism remained at a “high but stable” level. The NGO Forum against Anti-Semitism reported 477 anti-Semitic incidents during 2016. These included seven physical assaults in addition to name-calling, graffiti and defacement, threatening letters, dissemination of anti-Semitic texts, property damage, and vilifying letters and telephone calls. Of the reported incidents, 153 involved anti-Semitic internet postings. The government provided police protection to the IKG’s offices and other Jewish community institutions in the country, such as schools and museums. The IKG noted that anti-Semitic incidents typically involved neo-Nazi and other related right-wing extremist perpetrators. The IKG continued to note concerns about anti-Semitism on the part of some members of the Freedom Party (FPOe). In July, FPOe member of parliament Johannes Huebner announced he would not seek reelection in the October parliamentary election, following widespread protests over statements that critics said contained anti-Semitic undertones he had made in 2016 and which had surfaced in July. In a speech on “mass migration to Austria,” he referred to “so-called Holocaust victims” who were criticizing the FPOe.
Bishop Manfred Scheuer resigned as president of the Catholic peace organization Pax Christi, reportedly because of expressions of anti-Semitism within the NGO and at a Pax Christi event.
In January the Supreme Court upheld a preliminary injunction against a publication for slandering Holocaust survivors, forbidding German author Manfred Duswald from calling Mauthausen concentration camp survivors “criminals and a widespread nuisance.” Duswald made the statements in a 2015 article that appeared in the monthly Aula, considered an extreme right-wing publication by the Vienna-based Documentation Center of the Austrian Resistance Movement, an NGO that monitors right-wing extremism. Holocaust survivors and Green party member of parliament Harald Walser submitted a collective lawsuit after a Graz court in early 2016 closed investigations against the paper (under the country’s anti-neo-Nazi law) without legal consequences, sparking protests among the Mauthausen survivors community.
School curricula included discussion of the Holocaust, the tenets of different religious groups, and advocacy of religious tolerance. Chancellor Christian Kern visited Israel to emphasize his country’s responsibility for the “darkest chapters in Austria’s history,” and his country’s commitment to learn from its Nazi past and to combat anti-Semitism. The Education Ministry offered special teacher training seminars on Holocaust education and conducted training projects with the Anti-Defamation League. The cabinet adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism on April 25. On the day of the adoption, Foreign Minister Kurz termed the decision an important signal to identify and combat anti-Semitism more easily, and Jewish Community President Oskar Deutsch described the decision as a “milestone in combatting anti-Semitism.”
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. The government did not always 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. 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 cited 953 neo-Nazi extremist, or anti-Semitic incidents in 2016 directed against minorities.
An NGO operating a hotline for victims of racist incidents reported receiving 1,107 complaints in 2016. It reported that racist internet postings had risen by one third from 2015 and were, in particular, directed against migrants and asylum seekers, refugee shelters, and the NGOs assisting them.
The Islamic Faith Community’s documentation center, established for reporting anti-Muslim incidents, reported receiving 253 complaints in 2016, an increase of 156 from the previous year.
Human rights groups continued to report that Roma faced discrimination in employment and housing. 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.
The Labor and Integration Ministries continued efforts to improve 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.
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.
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. LGBTI organizations generally operated freely. Civil society groups, however, criticized the lack of a mechanism to prevent service providers from discriminating against LGBTI individuals.