A quest for justice: Hungary's victims of domestic violence

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By Euronews
Screenshot - FILE Footage - Hungarian violence victim Erika Renner
Screenshot - FILE Footage - Hungarian violence victim Erika Renner   -  Copyright  Screenshot/Euronews

Erika Renner was attacked, drugged and mutilated by her former lover in March 2013.

The criminal procedure dragged on for six years and the young Hungarian told Euronews it was an ordeal.

"They treated me like... scenery, I was an object in my own case ... I only had duties, an obligation to testify, to tell the truth... and meanwhile the legal system was not at all interested in me as a human being," she said.

Eventually, her ex-partner was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

READ MORE: Jail term doubled for hospital chief's acid attack on ex-lover

Renner is not an isolated case. Every fifth Hungarian woman lives in a physically abusive relationship, according to 2018 data compiled by Women for Women against Violence, an NGO.

Women's rights groups have repeatedly demanded their government take urgent action against domestic violence - starting with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention Action against violence against women and domestic violence.

According to Judit Wirth, head of NAN, a women rights group, one key problem is that Hungarian police and justice staff are not sufficiently prepared to deal with domestic violence cases.

"The fight against violence on women is a profession in itself, the people working in these fields do not receive any training in it - you can clearly see the result in everyday practice," she told Euronews.

In recent years, the Conservative government has been reluctant to work with women NGOs, claiming their ideology is against the interests of the Hungarian state

Euronews is telling women’s stories across Europe in the run-up to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November).

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Video editor • Thomas Duthois