Protection against Violence Law

The Legislation for the protection from violence in Austria was installed in 1997. Austria had a pioneering role in Europe.


The Legislation for the protection from violence in detail

1.)  Anti-violence protection by the police

The police are obliged to intervene promptly in cases of violence. It is the duty of officers to evict the endangering person from the dwelling immediately, so that the victim can stay there safely. It is irrelevant who owns the apartment or house. The police have the power to evict any person posing threat to others, including the owner.

Together with the restraining order (Betretungsverbot) a prohibition of approach (Annäherungsverbot) within 100 meters is stipulated. If there are underaged children in the household, the police will enunciate these orders for the protection of the children as well.

A barring order is valid for 2 weeks. The police must take away all keys to the dwelling from the person posing a threat. As long as the barring order is in effect, the evicted person may not return, otherwise he is breaking the law. Therefore it is advisable for everyone involved to observe the barring order. If the perpetrator returns to the home or its immediate vicinity in violation of a barring order, you should call the police at once!

2.)  Longer-term protection by the means of a temporary injunction according to the act on enforcement procedures

The barring order has a term of 2 weeks. If you want protective measures prolonged beyond this term, you must apply for a temporary injunction (EV) under civil law against the perpetrator within these two weeks. A temporary injunction can be issued even if the police have not intervened.

Applications must be filed with the district court (Bezirksgericht) of your place of residence. You can make your application in writing or verbally during office hours. In urgent cases the court is obliged to accept the application even outside regular office hours.

A temporary injunction can be applied for if physical abuse or threats make life with a violent person intolerable. A temporary injunction can also be applied for in the event of psychological violence that seriously impairs the victims’ psychological health. A family relationship with the perpetrator is not a prerequisite.

There are two different temporary injunctions:

1. Protection in the sphere of living

If violence is exerted against you in your sphere of living by someone who lives in the same household you can apply for this temporary injunction, so that the person who exerts violence is ordered to leave the dwelling and barred from returning to its surroundings. It is irrelevant who owns the apartment or house.

A temporary injunction for protection in the victim’s own sphere of living can be issued by the court for the duration of 6 months. If divorce proceedings or other proceedings are filed in the course of this 6-month period, the temporary injunction is valid until these proceedings have been completed.

2. General protection against violence

Parallel to the protection in the sphere of living, the victim can also apply for measures under which the perpetrator is ordered to stay away from certain places (for example: place of work, school, kindergarten) and to refrain from any kind of contact (in person, via telephone or e-mail, etc.)

A temporary injunction for general protection against violence can be applied for independently of a temporary injunction in the sphere of living.

This temporary injunction can be issued for 1 year.

3.)  Support for women who suffer violence

In the event of a barring order issued on your behalf, you will be contacted by the intervention centre in your province. These centres provide free counselling as well as free assistance during court proceedings.

Das Gewaltschutzgesetz wurde 1997 eingerichtet zum Schutz bei häuslicher Gewalt. Österreich hatte dabei eine Vorreiterrolle in Europe.