President of the women's organisation of the Party of European Socialists (PES Women) and deputy group leader of MSZP Zita Gurmai went as far as Brussels with Bernadett Orosz, where they held a joint press conference to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women across the whole of Europe.
Bernadett Orosz was the victim of a brutal attack in November last year, when her partner beat the mother of six to the verge of unrecognizability. She hid in a military object and then decided to go public with her story. The policeman in charge then told the press that "such a brutal attack against a woman had not been committed before" but "no substantive action had been taken in her case" to date.
The court issued a restrain order, but the abuser remained free to defend himself during the investigation. Therefore, she is still in danger. In trust of the government, Orosz turned to Minister of Justice Judit Varga and Attorney General Péter Polt for help, but she was sorely disappointed. They found everything in order with the way the woman's case was handled by the authorities. It was not even Judit Varga who responded to Orosz’s letter, but Deputy Secretary of State in the Ministry Márton Gellén.
The solution would be there had the Istanbul Convention for the Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence been transposed into Hungarian law already.
The Hungarian authorities apply a fatiguing technique to make sure many give up, said Orosz at the press conference in Brussels, where she also said she felt that by giving her face to her story and going public, “she represents the great many victims who dare not come out."
According to Bernadett Orosz, more emphasis should be placed on prevention and that offenders should indeed be punished. Offender rehabilitation should also be provided, for example, with the involvement of prison psychologists. Instead of all these measures, they did not fully enforce the restrain order and police officers were unprepared too, the reason for which, in her view, must have been the lack of training.
At the joint press conference, Zita Gurmai also said that the issue needs to be kept on the agenda not only at home but also in Europe, in order to achieve real results and prevent further tragedies.
“I urge Minister Judit Varga to immediately publish a legal comparison of Hungarian law and the Istanbul Convention, or, if such a document does not exist, to initiate the incorporation of the Istanbul Convention into Hungarian law! They cannot bluff any longer and endanger people's lives. On average, one woman dies every week as a result of domestic violence," Gurmai said.
Varga previously said that the relevant Hungarian legislation meets the requirements of the Istanbul Convention on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
Gurmai and Orosz also visited the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights, where, in consultation with German Socialist MEP Katarina Barley they are now trying to formulate a new proposal for a resolution on domestic violence to help put the ratified Convention into practice.