Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is a criminal offense, and the government effectively prosecuted those accused of such crimes. Spousal rape has the same penalties as rape under other circumstances. Sentences for spousal rape may be reduced if the victim decides to remain with the abusive spouse.
The law prohibits all forms of domestic violence and provides for restraining orders against violent family members. However, there were reports of violence against women, including spousal abuse. According to police records, 14 women were the victims of domestic violence.
Sixteen women and 10 children received counseling and refuge at the Frauenhaus, a women’s shelter. Government centers provided single-stop financial, administrative, legal, and psychological assistance to victims of domestic violence.
Sexual Harassment: Stalking is a criminal offense. Sexual harassment is illegal and punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine, and the government effectively enforced these prohibitions. Employers are required to take reasonable measures to prevent sexual harassment; failure to do so may result in compensation for victims up to 40,000 Swiss francs (approximately $41,840). There were three recorded complaints of sexual harassment during the year.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Contraceptives and medical services are readily available. There were no reports of barriers limiting access to maternal health services. Women and men had equal access to diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, including rights under family law, property law, and in the judicial system. The Equal Opportunity Office and the Commission on Equality between Women and Men worked to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination. However, societal discrimination continued to limit opportunities for women in fields traditionally dominated by men. On average women earned 20 percent less than men for equal work. The labor contract law and the equal opportunity law contain provisions to combat gender discrimination in the workplace.
On September 16, the government hosted a conference on equal opportunities commemorating the 25th anniversary of the country’s Commission for Equality between Women and Men.