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CRIME

Woman ‘deliberately run over’ after fight outside disco

Police in Vienna are searching for a man who deliberately ran over a young woman with his car on Sunday morning after an argument outside a disco in the Favoriten district.

Woman 'deliberately run over' after fight outside disco
The road where the woman was knocked down. Photo: ORF

The 22-year-old Serbian woman who lives in Vienna was seriously injured and is being treated in hospital. She had been dancing at the popular ‘Balkan Disco’ with friends and left at around 6:30am.

Police spokesman Christoph Pölzl said that a group of men accosted her and she began arguing with them, but one of the men wouldn’t leave her alone. A friend of hers tried to defuse the situation and suggested they go home.

The woman began walking towards a nearby bus stop with her friend, but one of the men she had been rowing with got into his car and followed her at high speed down the road. Eyewitnesses said that he accelerated, drove his Peugeot onto the pavement and knocked the woman over.

He then drove off at speed towards the Laxenburger Straße. Police are investigating and say the suspect could face charges of attempted murder.

The woman is being treated for a suspected fractured skull, a head injury, and a spinal injury. Doctors say she is in a stable condition but is not yet well enough to talk to the police.

CRIME

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department

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