Hands off Family: Counteracting Violence against Women in Poland

The aim of this proposed conference paper is to discuss the position of the Polish government towards its obligations related to counteracting violence against women. The main point of reference will be the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The paper focuses on developments introduced in Poland in the field of counteracting sexual and domestic violence, after its accession to the Istanbul Convention. It is argued that the government is more eager to address sexual than domestic violence, which could be attributable to the fact that sexual violence is stereotypically perceived as committed by “strangers”, not relatives. Against this background, domestic violence is not dealt with in order to not interfere in family matters. As observed, in today’s Poland, mainstreaming of human rights has been replaced by “family mainstreaming” where the protection of family unity prevails over the rights and safety of an entity.