The Significance of Recognising Domestic Violence, in Light of Estonian Legal Experts’ Opinion and the Prospects for Systematising the Relevant Legislation

  • Raul Narits
  • Silvia Kaugia
  • Iris Pettai
Keywords: Domestic violence, preventing domestic violence, combating domestic violence, systematisation of law


Domestic violence has been under public scrutiny for some time both internationally and in Estonia. A highly negative social phenomenon, it causes considerable harm to individuals` basic rights and thereby poses an acute legal problem. Accordingly, the objective with the article is to address the attitudes of Estonia’s practising legal experts towards domestic violence from the perspective of recognising it and to support the idea of exploring options for further systematising the relevant legislation. World judicial practice uses two fundamental types of regulation to address domestic violence: reconciling and punitive. According to a survey carried out among Estonia’s practising lawyers in 2014, legal professionals may favour either kind of regulation. The authors of the article hold the view that Estonia needs fairly separate regulation for preventing and combating domestic violence yet regulation that is integrated well into the system at large. Obviously, laws cannot solve all problems related to domestic violence on their own; however, the potential of laws should not be underestimated.