What does the law say about intimate partner violence?

Being violent within the context of a couple is forbidden by law (Swiss penal code). By couple we mean:

  • Married couples
  • Both heterosexual and homosexual partners
  • Couples who are divorced for less than one year
  • Couples who are separated for less than one year

Acts of violence that are prosecuted

  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Grievous bodily harm or Aggravated assault
  • Imprisonment
  • Coercion
  • Actual bodily harm or Assault causing bodily harm
  • Repeated instances of assault
  • Threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Rape

Offenses committed in the context of a couple are prosecuted if the case is reported to the police. The victim may make an accusation to the authorities (Police of Public Prosecutor). A witness (family, neighbor, colleague) can also report these events to the authorities.

The deadline for getting the authorities involved goes from three months to several years depending on the events.

At any point, the victim can demand a stay of proceedings.