Violence against women has been of great concern in Czech society, prompting recent legislative amendments and government action to tackle this serious issue. This includes the adoption of a National Action Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for 2011-14.
The Czech Republic has not signed the Istanbul Convention.
Czech law criminalises domestic violence
since 2004 and defines it as the maltreatment of a person living in a jointly occupied flat or house, whether a next of kin or not.
Although there is no definition of what constitutes “maltreatment”, the National Action Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence specifies that domestic violence is not restricted to physical violence and can be expressed in many other ways, for example through psychological, sexual or economic abuse, and often through a combination of these forms. The Action Plan further clarifies the definition of domestic violence by stating that it is characterised by its long-term and private nature, as well as an escalation of violence and an unambiguous split of roles, thereby creating “a relationship of dependency of the victim on the perpetrator”, and the “normalisation” of the act within their lives. The crime is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment, and two to eight years in the event where the act is committed with particular cruelty, or on more than one person, or if it has continued for a prolonged period of time.
Several legal provisions have been introduced to reinforce this legislation on domestic violence. Since January 2007 police can expel perpetrators from their dwelling and immediate surroundings for a period of ten days, if there are serious grounds to believe that future attacks will be committed. The consent of the victim is not needed and the length of the eviction can be extended by the court for up to one year.
Various tools have been developed to assist police officers in deciding on whether to issue an emergency eviction order, such as a Spousal Assault Risk Assessment guide and instruction cards, and all police officers are required to undertake basic training on domestic violence.
After issuing an eviction order, police are legally obliged to inform the competent intervention centre within 24 hours, which must then contact the victim within 48 hours.
Moreover, the National Action Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence introduces an integrated approach to fighting domestic violence. The plan focuses on strengthening support for persons endangered by domestic violence; helping children who witness domestic violence so as to prevent the intergenerational transfer of violent behaviour patterns; providing social and therapeutic services for violent persons; establishing interdisciplinary co-operation and continuous education for all actors involved in tackling domestic violence; breaking down deeply-rooted cultural and social stereotypes; conducting analyses and studies; and strengthening legislation. 
According to Violence against women: an EU-wide survey (2014), in Czech Republic 21% of women have been victims of domestic violence and according to a survey conducted by proFem NGO in 2012 11% of women between 18 and 65 years of age experienced some form of domestic violence in 2011.
According to proFem NGO 2% of cases of domestic violence led to prosecution.
There is no free legal assistance for the victims offered by the state. There are several NGOs providing these services, but these are dependent on project funding and thus their services are not guaranteed. The shelters for the victims are also run by NGOs and have no stable support from the state. Women have to pay for their stay in these shelters.
Rape has been a criminal offense in the Czech Republic since 1950; however, the definition was expanded under the new criminal code in 2001 to protect men and to include sexual contact in addition to sexual intercourse
Rape is defined as using violence, threatening to use violence or committing other serious harm, to coerce someone to take part in sexual intercourse, or taking advantage of someone’s defencelessness for such purposes. Defencelessness is characterised by the inability to resist or to manifest one’s will, for reasons including unconsciousness, deep sleep, consumption of drugs or alcohol, and insufficient maturity due to age. The amended provisions of the Criminal Code have enlarged the definition of the crime, which now includes acts previously qualified as extortion, and also removed the need to obtain the victim’s consent for prosecution.
While there is no specific reference to spousal/marital rape in the current Czech Criminal Code, the pre-1950 clause in the criminal code that excluded marital/spousal rape from punishment was removed from the new criminal code in 1950. Therefore, while the criminal code does not contain any specific reference, it is seen to cover all types of rape.23
In practice, it is reported that victims of rape are not well informed about where to turn to for help, that police officers lack adequate training in how to deal with rape, and that general awareness and education about rape is low.
The Code of Criminal Procedure offer legal aid free-of-charge if the aggrieved person petitions the court for compensation and proves a lack of financial means to cover legal assistance. It does not take immaterial damage (emotional/psychological) into account when assessing the victim’s compensation.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has expressed concern over the low prosecution and conviction rates of domestic violence and rape, and the lenient sentences given to perpetrators of such acts.
There were 198 convictions for rape in 2012 out of 669 reported cases.
Transforming social attitudes towards violence against women remains a priority. In 2012, out of the women surveyed by proFem NGO who acknowledged having experienced domestic violence, only 10.0 percent went to the police, 8.0 percent sought psychological help, 5.0 percent consulted with legal or health professionals, and 3.0 percent talked to social workers. Moreover, a recent report published by the European Women’s Lobby in 2013 indicates that rape is only believed to be reported in 8.0 percent of cases, and even less in the case of spousal rape or rape in the family (3.0 percent),
and underreporting is believed to be even more prominent in immigrant communities, owing to fear of losing immigration status or different cultural environments.
There are reports that common stereotypes and myths about rape and rape victims remain. These include the idea that victims are responsible (e.g. through provocative behaviour, inappropriate clothing, seduction of the perpetrator), that most rapes are false accusations, and that the perpetrator is a mentally unstable person, and not someone from the victim´s vicinity. 
was incorporated into the Czech Labour Code in 2004 to comply with European Union (EU) accession requirements,
and a second definition was introduced in 2009 through the adoption of the Anti-discrimination Act.
The two definitions are similar and centre on the purpose or the consequence of the act, which is to diminish another person’s dignity. As stated above however, these laws are not implemented in practice, and the absence of specific procedures available to victims continues to weaken this legal framework.
Attitudes towards sexual harassment are of concern, with reports suggesting that it is seen as “normal” or ignored in the workplace.
A study conducted by the Sociological Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 2005 showed that approximately two thirds of the population reported having experienced jokes with sexual connotations or comments about their private lives in the workplace, and over half of the working population reported having heard talk involving sexual innuendo. Women are more often victims than men, with 13.2%reporting having personally experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, compared to 3.9% of men.
Women are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment in traditionally male sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing, with respectively 42% and 30% of women workers reporting personal or indirect sexual harassment.
There are no reports that female genital mutilation is practiced in the Czech Republic.
Women have the right to abortion upon request up to the 12th week, with medical recommendation up to the 24th week of pregnancy, and anytime if there is a serious medical issue
According to the most recent UN reports, the general abortion rate was 10.7 abortions per 1 000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2010.
Antenatal and family planning services are available, with latest UN figures reporting antenatal care coverage of 94.8% in 2010,
and an unmet need of only 4.3% for women aged 15 to 49 in 2008.
According to the same source, 77.6% of women used some form of modern contraception in 2008. Moreover, the mean age at first birth has risen from 22.4 in 1980 to 27.8 in 2011.
The Czech government officially apologised in 2009 for the coercive sterilisation
of women, which occurred without their knowledge during abortions or caesarean sections, as recently as 2007.
According to the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner, Romani, disabled and socially disadvantaged women (including dissidents during the Communist era) were targeted by these illegal practices.
Of continued concern is the fact that these women have largely been unable to pursue compensation claims before Czech courts due to statutory limitation regulations. The Czech government is under growing pressure from the international community to address this legal gap, leading to a recent statement by Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier on 12 March 2014 that the Government will start drafting a law on compensation.
In 2013, the Prague City Council presented a bill before the Parliament proposing to legalize prostitution
, which includes withdrawing from the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons
and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.