Anti-domestic violence act comes into force

The anti-domestic violence act has come into force obliging a perpetrator who poses threat to the lives and health of his or her housemates to leave the household immediately following the issuing of a pertinent order.

The new law overhauled the code of civil procedure, and the Police and Military Police Act.

The anti-domestic violence act envisages the introduction of separate, fast legal proceedings on cases that oblige a perpetrator of violence to leave the household occupied with his or her victim. The act also bans the perpetrator from approaching the household.

Moreover, the police and the military police will be granted to the authority to immediately issue an order with this regard. The order will remain valid for 14 days, however, at the motion of a victim the court can prolong this period.

“These are brand new competencies. Thanks to them, the police obtain a new and efficient tool to fight against domestic violence. Until now, it was that the victim of domestic violence, being many times a woman with children, had to flee from the household or remain with the perpetrator under the same roof. Now, thanks to the immediate police order, the victim will be sure that calling the police in will definitely solve the problem,” Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Romanowski said.

The official added that some 30,000 police officers have already been trained in exercising the solutions included in the act.

The order to leave the household will be executed together with the possibility of using coercive measures even if the perpetrator claims he or she has nowhere to go.

The police will be obliged to regularly check whether the person banned from approaching the household abides by the imposed limitation or not. If the person fails to comply, he or she will be placed under arrest, his or her freedoms limited or be made liable to a fine.

The act envisages the improvement of the urgency of legal proceedings with regards to acts of domestic violence. Under the act, the legal proceedings should be concluded within 30 days’ time. A quick legal procedure will become possible thanks to, among others, the fact that procedural documents will be delivered by the police not post services. The police will also be obliged to the provision of all possible help to the court that is necessary for the case to be concluded swiftly. Such help could involve, for instance, the verification of the residential address of a witness.

“This is an absolutely groundbreaking act,” Mr Romanowski said, adding that “Poland has joined the forefront of countries, in which victims of domestic violence can count on an efficient and immediate help.”

Having been passed by the Lower House on April 30, the act was backed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), the opposition Civic Coalition (KO), Left, Polish People’s Party (PSL) and Kukiz’15, who stressed many a time that such a regulation was expected for many years amidst appeals of various NGOs. Only the Confederation voted against the act.