A. T. was subjected to severe physical abuse at the hands of her partner over a period of four years. She repeatedly sought medical attention and sought to deny her partner entry to the family apartment. On one occasion, upon forcibly gaining entry to the apartment in July 2001, A. T.’s partner beat her so severely that she needed to be hospitalized.
Although criminal investigations into this violence had been ongoing for several years, at the time of A. T.’s submission to the Committee the Hungarian authorities had taken no action to protect A. T. In 2000 her partner instituted proceedings seeking continued access to the family apartment and local Courts determined that he was legally entitled to use the apartment. The Hungarian Supreme Court dismissed A. T.’s appeal.
In her communication to the Committee, A. T. claimed that due to ineffective investigations and the lack of protection or restraining orders, Hungary had failed to provide her with effective protection in violation of Articles 2 (equality and non-discrimination), 5 (modification of social and cultural patterns of conduct) and 16(elimination of discrimination in marriage and family relations) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. She also requested interim measures under Optional Protocol article 5(1).
The Committee determined that Hungary violated Articles 2, 5 and 16 of the Convention. It noted that severe delays indicated a lack of effective remedies at the domestic level and recognized that, although most of the alleged abuse had taken place prior to the OP’s entrance into force for Hungary in March 2001, the complaint was admissible because the final assault in July 2001 constituted the final incident of an uninterrupted sequence of violence from which the State had failed to provide protection.
The Committee held that gender-based violence constitutes a form of gender discrimination and that the Convention obliged Hungary to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, or punish such violence by private actors. It found that the Hungarian government had not provided any such protection to A. T. and that there were no legal remedies available to protect A. T. against continued violence. It also determined that the failure to protect A.T. was symptomatic of Hungary’s failure to combat harmful gender stereotypes. The Committee outlined that Hungary should take urgent action to provide a safe home and legal and monetary support for A. T.