According to a report by humanrights.ch one in five women in Switzerland are subjected to domestic violence. The report stated that typically victims fall prey to threats, blackmail, beatings and sexual violence.
Domestic violence entails the use of threat along with physical, psychological or sexual violence. Within the family sphere women, children, parents and grandparents can all be victims of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not only limited to women, last year alone Swiss police were called more than 14,000 times to deal with cases of violence. According to news reports one in seven victims were minors, while children were present in half of the police confrontations.
The report stated that a total of 9,195 individuals were charged, men were responsible for carrying out the attacks three out of four times. In 2015 more than 36 people were killed during incidents of domestic violence alone in Switzerland.
Cantons Take Action
Several cantons in Switzerland have decided to take action on issues of domestic violence by offering consultation services. Nevertheless it is still uncommon for authorities to oblige people to avail themselves of the help provided by such service centres.
Even though 25 out of 26 cantons offer professional consultation services for individuals affected by domestic violence only 1,500 people utilized the help provided by such centres.
Cantons such as Lucerne and Valais have strict legislation compelling individuals to seek help provided by the professional domestic violence consultation services. Several other cantons including Vaud are seriously considering compelling victims of domestic violence to seek needed help.
The UN’s Viewpoint
The United Nations stated that violence against women including domestic violence is one of the most serious forms of gender-based violations of human rights. Not only does it deprive women of their fundamental rights and freedoms, but it also presents a serious obstacle to equality between men and women.
Domestic violence is not only limited to women, nevertheless a large fraction of cases of domestic violence takes place against women.
At the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland defended its gender equality record before the United Nations Committee.
Among the issues discussed was domestic violence, the UN welcomed Switzerland’s efforts to discuss the subject but said that it is still concerned about the high rates of violence against women.
The UN advised Switzerland to provide more shelters and victim services in all cantons; it also urged it to prioritize ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against women known as the ‘Istanbul Convention.’
According to reports Switzerland hopes to ratify the ‘Istanbul Convention,’ by 2018, it also expects to pass the federal bill on improving the protection of victims of violence to parliament in 2017.