Rape and Domestic Abuse: Under the law rape, including spousal rape, is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. The government generally enforced the law. Government statistics on rape and sexual coercion included 1,156 reported occurrences and 146 convictions in 2010. There were no reports of police or judicial reluctance to prosecute spousal or other rape cases.
Domestic violence is illegal, but violence against women, including spousal abuse, was a problem. The Office of Women’s Affairs and Civil Service estimated that 10 percent of adult women have suffered from violence in a relationship. Fewer than 10 percent of women abused by an intimate partner filed complaints. Police can issue a two-week order barring abusive family members from contact with the victim, and courts may extend the order for up to six months. Domestic violence is punishable under the criminal code provisions for murder, rape, sexual abuse, and bodily injury.
According to Justice Ministry statistics released in February, courts issued injunctions prohibiting abusive family members from returning home in 6,759 cases in 2010.
Under the law psychosocial care, as well as legal aid and support throughout the justice process, is mandated for survivors of gender-based violence. Police training programs address sexual or gender-based violence and domestic abuse.
The government funded privately operated intervention centers and hotlines for victims of domestic abuse. The centers provided for victims’ safety, assessed the threat posed by perpetrators, helped victims develop plans to stop the abuse, and provided legal counseling and other social services. NGOs observed that these centers were generally effective in providing shelter for victims of abuse.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Authorities can prosecute FGM under the criminal code’s general bodily injury provisions; it is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. There were unconfirmed reports by NGOs that FGM was practiced in some immigrant communities, but no information on the incidence of this practice was available. There were no reports of police or judicial reluctance to pursue FGM cases.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, and the government generally enforced the law. Of the 3,479 cases of discrimination brought to the ombudsman in 2010 for reasons of gender, 422 involved sexual harassment. The labor courts may order employers to compensate victims of sexual harassment on the basis of the Federal Equality Commission’s finding in a case; the law entitles a victim to a minimum of 1,000 euros ($1,300) in financial compensation.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children, and are free to do so without any discrimination, coercion, or violence. Statistics Austria reported that during the year there were approximately four maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Women were diagnosed and treated on an equal basis with men for sexually transmitted infections.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, and the Federal Equality Commission and the ombudsman for equal treatment of gender oversee laws requiring equal treatment of men and women. The ombudsman provides advice in discrimination cases and can file complaints with the Federal Equality Commission on behalf of persons who assert that they have been discriminated against. The minister for women’s affairs and social service is responsible for promoting the legal rights of women.
According to Statistics Austria’s Women’s Report 2010, released in February, women earned on average 25.5 percent less than men and 15 percent less for equivalent work. The participation for women ages 15 to 64 in the labor force was 69 percent, approximately the same as for men. The report attributed an observed increase in female participation in the labor market to a rise in part-time work. Approximately 41.5 percent of employed women worked part time, compared with 30.7 percent in 1998.
Female employees in the private sector may invoke laws prohibiting discrimination against women. Depending on the Federal Equality Commission’s findings, labor courts may award the equivalent of up to four months’ salary to women who are found to have experienced gender discrimination in promotion. The courts may also order compensation for women who were denied a post despite having equal qualifications.