Legal Definitions in the EU Member States
This resource includes the legal definitions of different types of gender-based violence used in EU Member States, according to their legal terminology and national legislation. It was last updated in 2019 and makes a reference to the United Kingdom as a member state of the European Union.
PolandViolence, JusticeSexual Harassment
While not being a criminal offence in itself, sexual harassment can be prosecuted under Articles 198 and 199 of the Criminal Code.
- Article 198 Whoever, taking advantage of the vulnerability of another person, or of the lack of ability to recognise the significance of the act or ability to control his/her conduct, resulting from mental disability or disorder, subjects such a person to sexual intercourse or makes him/her submit to another sexual act or to perform such an act shall be subject to the penalty of the deprivation of liberty for a term of between 6 months and 8 years.
- Article 199 § 1. Whoever, abusing a relationship of dependence or by taking advantage of a critical situation, subjects such a person to sexual intercourse or makes him/her submit to another sexual act or to perform such an act shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years. § 2. If the act specified in §1 was committed against a minor, the perpetrator shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term of between 3 months and 5 years. § 3. The punishment specified in § 2 shall be imposed on anyone, who subjects a minor to sexual intercourse or makes him/her submit to another sexual act or to perform such an act by abusing a trust or by giving a material or personal benefit or promise to provide it.
Article 18 §6 of Labour Code: Discrimination based on gender is any undesired behaviour of a sexual nature or referring to the employee’s gender whose aim or effect is violation of the employee’s dignity, especially creating a threatening, hostile, humiliating, degrading atmosphere; such behaviour can be comprised of physical, verbal and non-verbal elements (sexual harassment; § 6).Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Articles 198 and 199Legal provisions on protection orders:
Criminal Code, Article 39, 41a; Labour Code; Antidiscrimination Law (The Law on implementing some of the European Union Laws on equal Treatment)
Who, by means of stalking another person or persons who are close to her, causes in this person a justified sense of threat or significantly violates her privacy, is liable to a penalty of the deprivation of freedom for up to three years.Observations
If the consequences of an act determined in § 1 or 2 is the injured person’s attempt to commit suicide, the perpetrator is liable to a penalty of the restriction of freedom from one year to ten years (Article190a §3).Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Article190a §1Legal provisions on protection orders:
Criminal Code, Article 41a §1
PortugalViolence, JusticeIntimate Partner Violence
When physical and psychological mistreatments, including physical punishments, deprivation of freedom and sexual offences onto someone of the opposite or same sex take place with whom the aggressor maintains or has maintained a dating relation or akin to that of spouses, even if not in the same household.Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Article 152Legal provisions on protection orders:
Decree-law 112/2009 September 2009: i) the creation of urgent coercive measures, applicable within the first 48 hours after being declared accused (article 31); ii) the establishment of the victim and witness’ protection during evidence gathering as well as in trial sessions, promoting videoconference and teleconference (Article 32); iii) the possibility of access to distance controlled technical means (Article 35); iv) the creation of a specific system for the detention out of in flagrante delicto (caught in the act) (Article 30 (2) and (3); v) in the area of the victim’s social and work protection, the assessment of justified absences (Article 43), the establishment of the victim’s geographic mobility principle (Article 44)
It is an offense to use violence, force, or serious threat, or to make a person unconscious or unable to resist, in order to have vaginal, oral or anal sexual intercourse with the victim or enabling someone else to do so, or to insert body parts or any other objects into the vagina or anus.Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Article 164Legal provisions on protection orders:
Law 93/99 of 14 July 1999:
- victim occultation and teleconference
- non-disclosure of witness identity
- “punctual safety measures” (such as police protection) or “special protection programs”
- special regime for “specially vulnerable witnesses”
PortugalViolence, JusticeSexual Assault (excl. rape)
The circumstance of forcing the victim to suffer or perform with him/her or another, a relevant sexual act by any means of violence, serious threat or, to hose means, rendering the victim unconscious or unable to resist.Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Article 163
PortugalViolence, JusticeSexual Harassment
Any kind of unwanted behaviour occurring in the context of an application for a job or in the context of actual employment, occupation or professional training, which has the purpose or the effect of effecting a person’s dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Any unwanted verbal, non verbal, or physical behaviour of sexual nature, with the purpose or the effect described in the previous section.
Who troubles another by acting before them in an exhibitionist way or coercing them to sexual contact.Legal Source:
Labour Code, Article 29; Criminal Code; Law 19/2013 of 20 February, Article 170
RomaniaViolence, JusticeIntimate Partner Violence
Any deliberate action or inaction, with the exception of self-defence, that is either physical or verbal, perpetrated by a family member against another member of the same family that causes a harm, a physical, psychological or sexual or emotional suffering or a material prejudice, including threat of such acts, constraint or temporary deprivation of freedom.Observations
Family violence takes the following forms:
- Verbal violence: the use of offensive language, brutal language, insults, threats, humiliating or degrading expressions.
- Psychological violence: imposing the will or personal control over a family member. Provoking tension and psychological suffering. demonstrative violence against objects, pets, verbal threats, display of guns, neglects, acts of jealousy, constraints of all kinds as well as actions of similar effect.
- Physical violence: assault or battery through pushing, blows, hair pulling, slapping, slashing, burning, choking, biting in any intensity
- Sexual violence: sexual assault, harassment, intimidation, manipulation, brutality in pursuing coerced sexual intercourse, marital rapeeconomic violence – forbidding professional activity, depriving a family member of economic means, including deprivation of basic needs such as food, medicine, intention of theft of personal goods, deprivation of use of common goods, forced work, refuse to contribute to family expenses, imposing hard or dangerous labour on family members including minors
- Social violence: imposing an isolating environment from family, community or friends. Forbidding to attend school, restraining movement. intentional deprivation of information and all similar actsspiritual violence- sub estimating or diminishing the importance of satisfying moral and spiritual necessities through the interdiction, limit, ridicule or penalizing such aspirations by family members, denying access to cultural, ethnical, linguistic or religious values, imposing religion and spiritual practices on family members as well as similar acts
Law 25/2012, modifying law 217/2003 regarding prevention and combating of family violence, Article 2Legal provisions on protection orders:
Protection Order (Law 25/2012, Article 26): a person whose life, physical or psychological integrity or freedom is in endangered by the violent acts of family member can ask the court to issue a protection order in order to eliminate the state of danger.
The sexual act, of any kind, with a person of the opposite sex or of the same sex by forcing that person or by taking advantage of his or her impossibility to defend herself/himself or to express his/her willObservations
If rape is perpetrated against a family member it constitutes an aggravating circumstance eliciting a higher sentence (see Criminal Code, Article 218).Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Art 217 (1)Legal provisions on protection orders:
No legal provision
RomaniaViolence, JusticeSexual Assault (excl. rape)
The act of sexual nature other than rape with a person, perpetrated with constraint, or rendering it impossible for the person to defend or to express consent or taking advantage of an incapacitated state of a person.Legal Source:
Criminal Code, Article 219Legal provisions on protection orders:
No legal provision
RomaniaViolence, JusticeSexual Harassment
3 different laws provide a legal definition for sexual harassment.
- Sexual harassment at work is a form of discrimination(Law 324/2006 Anti-discrimination law, Article 2(5))
- Sexual harassment at work is any behaviour in relation to gender about which the person who is responsible knows that is affecting the dignity of persons, if such a behaviour is rejected and represents a motivation for a decision affecting those persons (Law 340/2006 for the amendment and approval of Law 202/2002 regarding equality of opportunity between women and men).
- Harassing a person through threats or constraints in order to obtain sexual satisfaction by a person who abuses his/her authority or his/her influence given by his position in the workplace is an act of sexual harassment punishable by prison from 3 months to 2 years or fine (Criminal Code,Article 203) - in the new Criminal Code to be introduced Sexual Harassment will defined under Article 223
Law 324/2006 Anti-discrimination law, Article 2(5); Law 340/2006 for the amendment and approval of Law 202/2002 regarding equality of opportunity between women and men, Article 7; Criminal Code, Article 203Legal provisions on protection orders:
No legal provision
No specific law on stalking or a specific criminal offence defining stalking. The concept is not recognised in Romanian legislation.Legal provisions on protection orders:
No legal provision
SloveniaViolence, JusticeIntimate Partner Violence
In Slovenia, "family violence" denotes any form of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence exerted by one family member against the other (i.e. including violence against children), or disregard of any family member as found in the Article 2 of this Act regardless of the age, sex or any other personal circumstance of the victim or perpetrator of violence. Physical violence denotes any use of physical force that causes pain, fear or shame to the family member regardless of the fact whether injuries were inflicted. Sexual violence pertains to handling with sexual content that is opposed by one family member, or if he or she is forced into acting them out or because of his or her stage of development they do not understand their meaning. Psychological violence denotes such actions with which the perpetrator of violence exerting it against a family member induces fear, shame, feelings of inferiority, endangerment and other anguish. Economic violence is undue control or setting of restrictions of any family member concerning disposing with one's income or in other words managing the financial assets with which the family member disposes or manages and it can also mean undue restricting of disposing or managing the common financial assets of family members. Disregard falls under those forms of violence in which a person does not provide due care for the family member who is in need of it due to illness, disability, old age, developmental or any other personal circumstances.
The Criminal code, article 191.
(1) Whoever within a family treats badly another person, beats them, or in anyother way treats them painfully or degradingly, threatens with direct attack on their life orlimb to throw them out of the joint residence or in any other way limits their freedom of movement, stalks them, forces them to work or give up their work, or in any other way puts them into a subordinate position by aggressively limiting their equal rights shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years.
(2) The same punishment shall be imposed on whoever commits the acts under the preceding paragraph in any other permanent living community.
(3) If the act under paragraph 1 is committed against a person with whom the perpetrator lived in a family or other permanent community, which fell apart, however, this act is connected to the community, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years.Legal Source:
Family Violence Prevention Act, Article 3 and Criminal code