CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation has produced a Civil Society Index project which examines the health and effectiveness of civil society in the Czech Republic. The research was carried out by NROS, a large civil society foundation in the Czech Republic and Central Europe, who collected information and input from a broad range of civil society representatives, citizens, experts and researchers on the state of civil society.
The report focuses, in part, on the effectiveness of civil society in the Czech Republic in dealing with the punishment of domestic violence. The case study followed a campaign whose goal it was to push through an amendment to the criminal law to make it punishable to tyrannize a person close to one or living in a joint household and to educate the public in questions relating to domestic violence. Prior to 2003, Czech criminal code did not allow for effective recourse in the event of domestic violence because the code did not recognize domestic violence as an independent criminal act and as such dealt with it as a common misdemeanor. It was therefore necessary to change both the public’s and the judiciary’s perception of the problem as not some feminist excess, but a problem that affected all of society. To that end, CSOs from around the country began coordinating a campaign to prevent domestic violence through legislation and public awareness. Through draft legislation, allies in government, and a public education campaign, criminal code 215a was amended in 2003.
This demonstrates, the report states, “the ability to create a broad and stable coalition between NGOs on the themes in question, the ability to use a variety of education/activation methods.” Finding a broad array of support from both civil society actors and government officials, “demonstrated the significance of an acceptable formulation of requirements linked with finding allies in parliament or government: in this respect we see the unsuccessful efforts made by proFem over many years, when the issue was perceived as feminist in character and therefore not broadly acceptable.”
To read the full report, please click below:
An Assessment of Czech Civil Society in 2004: after fifteen years of development. CIVICUS Civil Society Index Report for the Czech Republic (PDF 124 pages)
Compiled from: An Assessment of Czech Civil Society in 2004: after fifteen years of development. CIVICUS Civil Society Index Report for the Czech Republic. www.civicus.org. 2 May 2005