On 1 July 2013, amendments to the Criminal Code entered into force making domestic violence
against both sexes a specific criminal offense.
It applies to relationships of spouses, ex-spouses, cohabitants, ex-cohabitants, custodians, people living with guardians, as well as same sex relationships. The law defines domestic violence as simple battery (in section 164(2)), aggravated battery (in section 164 (3-4)), violating personal freedom (in section 194(1)), and an attack on human dignity (exemplified by slapping or spitting) (in section 227(2)). Maximum sentences range from three years for simple battery to five years for aggravated battery. Importantly, the law also places responsibility to take criminal action against the perpetrator on the prosecutor rather than the victim. 
Based on Act LXXII of 2009 police also now have the power to impose a restraining order for 72 hours for preventive purposes without violence having taken place and without the victim needing to request it.
This law is supported by police guidelines on domestic violence and on the application of civil restraining orders.
The Government of Hungary also reports that it has opened a secret shelter and established a Regional Crises Management Network, covering 14 locations around the country, as well as temporary housing for domestic violence victims and their families.
However, the domestic violence law also contains several weaknesses that hamper its effectiveness. NGOs have highlighted the fact that an assault against an intimate partner is only classified as an instance of domestic violence if there are at least two separate instances of abuse.
And, while section 171 of the Act requires medical providers to report domestic violence to the police if injuries are deemed to take more than eight days to heal, NGOs have reported that medical staff are often reluctant to provide the necessary documentation.
The new legislation also fails to cover non-cohabiting partners,
and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reported its concern in 2013 over the lack of specific provisions related to other forms of violence, such as economic and psychological violence and stalking.
Moreover, Human Rights Watch has reported that there is no comprehensive national strategy or policy on how to combat domestic violence and that, although there are guidelines for police on domestic violence, there are no comparable guidelines for prosecutors, judges, and health and social workers.
In practice, this relatively strong legal framework is not always effectively implemented, and domestic violence continues to be a challenge for Hungarian society. In a 2013 report, Human Rights Watch documented that the police response to domestic violence was generally inadequate, negligent or downright hostile.
According to victim interviews, police held the view that they cannot or will not intervene “unless blood flows”, and they usually required the victim to make a formal complaint before they were willing to issue a restraining order unless the injuries were very serious.
The report also found that lack of guidelines for prosecutors and judges also contribute to the problem, as did the inadequate emergency shelter system: only 122 beds are available throughout the country, and only 28 of those are located in a shelter with a secret address.
Lack of confidence in the legal system also impedes reporting for women from the Roma community, which is already subject to widespread discrimination.
According to the European Roma Rights Centre, factors that influence the high vulnerability to domestic violence among Roma women and girls, as well as the low reporting rates, include: child marriage and the resulting lack of education and hindered employment opportunities, social acceptance, fear of further victimisation on the part of the police, lack of alternative housing, and inadequate economic means to survive on their own.
Following an amendment in 2013, section 197 of the Hungarian Criminal Code now criminalises sexual violence and rape
, including spousal rape, punishable by imprisonment between two to eight years. However, although the new law introduces some positive steps regarding sexual violence, NGOs have criticised it for failing to define rape by the lack of consent; instead it defines it by the use of violence, threats and coercion.
In addition, rape and sexual violence are not subject to public prosecution except in cases where the violence accompanying them amounts to serious bodily harm or in cases where they are accompanied by another offense subject to public prosecution.
Despite the new law, violence against women, including sexual violence, remains a serious problem in Hungary, although it is significantly underreported.
The risk of violence and sexual assault increases for minority Roma women and children, who are highly vulnerable to violence by state and non-state actors.
Official police data shows 192 cases of violent sexual intercourse in 2012, a decrease from 196 in 2011 and from 246 in 2010. 
The US Department of State reports that in 2012 prosecutors pressed rape charges in 98 of these cases.
In 2012, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reported that 21% of women had experienced sexual and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime
There is evidence that underreporting may be linked to a lack of trust in the justice system. In 2010, there was a highly publicised case involving a woman being raped by five policemen, all of whom were later acquitted. According to civil society groups working on the issue, this case contributed to the widely held view that the radical drop in reporting of cases of violent sexual intercourse between 2010 and 2011 is in fact due to the way cases are handled by the police, the court and the media.
The equality opportunities law prohibits harassment based on sex as a form of discrimination,
and section 195 of the Criminal Code makes sexual harassment
a criminal offense, although there is no specific law or legal definition of sexual harassment. In practice however, the US Department of State reports that sexual harassment remains widespread, which NGOs have attributed to the absence of a clear legal definition of sexual harassment or of legal awareness of when and how to file a complaint.
The European Parliament reports that, although sexual harassment has been defined in the Equal Treatment Act since 2004, the Equal Treatment Authority, an independent authority set up by the government to monitor enforcement of antidiscrimination laws, has not fined any company for this offence.
There is no evidence that female genital mutilation is practiced in Hungary.
is a growing problem in Hungary.
The country has been identified as a source, transit and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
In order to combat the practice, Hungary amended the Criminal Code in 2013 to bring the definition of trafficking closer to international norms.
However, these efforts do not meet the minimum international standards for action according to the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.
The European Roma Rights Center has also found that human trafficking affects Roma women disproportionately in Hungary. Although relevant official data still does not exist, interviews conducted by the European Roma Rights Center with a range of law enforcement officials, service providers and NGOs in 2010 indicates that Roma represent a significant portion of victims of trafficking in Hungary.
The European Parliament reports that access to contraceptives
is limited in Hungary and that women must pay for them; contraceptives cost about 3,000 HUF (10 euros) per month.
United Nations figures from 1993 indicate that 71.3% of women used some form of modern contraceptives, however more recent data is not available.
Act LXXIX of 1992 on the Protection of Fetal Life permits abortion
, although it mandates two counselling sessions with a three-day waiting period between the sessions before a woman can obtain an abortion.
There is also state subsidisation of abortions for poor women and girls.
However, NGOs have criticised these provisions as causing unnecessary delay and have identified a rise in the conscientious objection of medical professionals in preforming the procedure.
Additionally in 2013 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urged the government to cease all negative interference with women’s sexual and reproductive rights and to provide adequate access to family planning services and affordable contraceptives. The Committee also expressed concern about the limited access to and inadequate quality of sexual and reproductive health services for women with disabilities, women with low income, Romani women, women living in rural areas and women living with HIV.
In 2004, the CEDAW Committee also filed an Optional Protocol case against Hungary, on the basis that the involuntary sterilisation of a Romani woman by the government constituted discrimination and a violation of international law.
In response, the Government of Hungary announced that it would provide financial compensation to the complainant, and in 2008 the Public Health Act was amended to improve the provision of information and procedures to obtain consent in these cases.
There is no mention of the changes in the Hungarian Constitution (“Fundamental Law”) which threatens to lead to a prohibition of women’s access to abortion. The new Hungarian Constitution which came into effect in 2012 states in the preamble that life should be protected from the moment of conception. There is no other explicit reference to a restriction of reproductive rights in the document, but women’s organisations and reproductive rights groups have called attention to the potential problems this change may bring.
 Hungarian Criminal Code, Act C (2012), Section 212/A  CEDAW (2011), p. 23  CEDAW (2011), p. 23  National Police Guidelines on police responsibilities in relation to domestic violence and protection of minors, cited in CEDAW (2011), p. 9  CEDAW (2011), p. 27  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 15  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 4  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 15  CEDAW (2013), p. 5  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 2  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 3  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 3  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 4  Human Rights Watch (2013), p. 3  ERRC (2011), p. 5  Hungarian Women’s Lobby and the European Roma Rights Centre (2013), p. 9; CEDAW (2012), p. 5  Hungarian Criminal Code, Act C (2012), Section 207  US Department of State (2013a)  Hungarian Women’s Lobby and the European Roma Rights Centre (2013), p. 9  Cited in WAVE (2013), p. 55  US Department of State (2013a)  OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database, http://stats.oecd.org  WAVE (2013), p. 55  Act CXXV of 22 December 2003 on equal treatment and promotion of equal opportunities, Article 10  US Department of State  European Parliament (2013b), p. 5  European Parliament (2013b), p. 7  US Department of State (2013b)  Hungarian Women’s Lobby and the European Roma Rights Centre (2013), p. 3  US Department of State (2013a), p. 78  Hungarian Women’s Lobby and the European Roma Rights Centre (2013), p. 3  European Parliament (2013b), p. 11  UN (2012b)  Act LXXIX of 1992 on the Protection of Fetal Life, Article 9; CRR (2013), p. 3  CRR (2013), p. 9  CRR (2013), p. 4  CEDAW (2013), p. 8  United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Supplemental Information Re: A.S. V. Hungary Communication No: 4/2004  ERRC (2009)