European & International News

Analytical Study on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states

[Brussels, 2 April 2014] On 19 March 2014, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held a Thematic Debate on “Violence against Women, the Council of Europe response”, with the participation of all the Permanent Representations of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Center in Vienna.

In his intervention, the Secretary General, underlined the measures undertaken by the Council of Europe to support member states in their efforts to prevent and combat violence against women, and pointed out the importance of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) as the most powerful standard yet for addressing the extensive problem of violence against women.

The Secretary General also took the opportunity of the Thematic Debate to launch the Analytical Study of the results of the 4th round of monitoring the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states. Secretary General Jagland stressed the need to step up efforts to address remaining challenges and gaps in policies and legislation in particular:

  • Only one of the nine forms of violence against women that should be penalised - physical violence - is criminalised by the 46 member States of the Council of Europe that participated in this Fourth Round.
  • Only four member states have national policies that address all nine forms of violence against women; five member states still have in place policies and strategies targeting violence within the family or domestic unit only;
  • The vast majority of member States are not able to provide figures regarding the allocation of sufficient financial resources to address the problem of violence against women;
  • In about a third of member States, the provision of shelter beds specifically for women and children victims of domestic violence is very low compared to the recommended standards;
  • Provision of specialised services for women victims of sexual violence, in particular medical and psychological support, advice concerning possible legal redress, and empowerment towards their recovery, is still lagging well behind the provision for victims of domestic violence.

Positive developments include:

  • Converging policy and legislation in Council of Europe member states and a trend towards criminalising more forms of violence against women such as forced marriage and stalking;
  • Member states are increasingly adopting and implementing comprehensive national policies to prevent and combat Violence against Women and more countries are setting up national governmental co-ordinating bodies for implementing those policies;
  • Member states have increased their efforts to train professionals working with women victims of violence and the role of education in preventing violence against women is being increasingly recognised;

The Analytical Study provides a comprehensive overview of the situation in 46 out of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe with regard to measures to tackle violence against women and domestic violence. The analytical comparison of developments over time and its wide geographic coverage make it a unique source of information for all those involved in preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The Study is available on the Gender Equality website as well as the website of the Istanbul Convention and you are encouraged to use the information contained therein in your work and also to encourage your authorities to sign and ratify the Convention.

Should you wish to receive a copy of this publication, please write at noting how many copies you would like and in which language (English or French).

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