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EWL calls for a gender perspective in the EU Directive for minimum standards for victims

[Brussels, 16 March 2012] In May 2011, the European Commission presented a package of measures to ensure rights, support and protection for victims across the EU, including a Directive on minimum standards for victims. While the Directive is discussed in the European Parliament, the EWL stresses women should be its major target group and violence against women its key element.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomed the much needed focus on victims in the Directive: this legally-binding instrument is indeed an important progress in terms of legal rights and protection of victims of crimes. However the EWL has actively stressed the absence of gender perspective in this Directive, despite the fact that women represent more than half of the European population.

The Directive is elaborated under the co-decision procedure, and thus the Commission’s draft is now in the hands of the European Parliament and the Council.

The EWL has lobbied for, and therefore welcomes, the participation of the FEMM committee of the European Parliament to the proposition of amendments to the Commission’s draft proposal. Overall the EWL supports the amendments proposed by the two draftspersons, MEPs Antonyia Parvanova from the FEMM Committee and Teresa Jimenez-Becerril Barrio from the FEMM and LIBE Committees, who stress the need to include specifically “gender based violence” into the Directive and to consider the specific needs of women victims.

The EWL has delivered a statement where it makes some complementary recommendations and urges the two drafspersons and the members of the FEMM and LIBE Committees, who will vote on these amendments before the plenary vote, to take them into consideration:

  • The definition of gender based violence, in the amendments proposed, should refer to violence against women precisely because the structural nature of the phenomenon of violence against women is linked to the inequality between women and men that remains prevalent in society.
  • The definition of violence in close relationship, that is proposed, needs a concrete gender dimension because ‘violence in close relationship’ affects women disproportionately.
  • The gender dimension must be strengthened in all provisions of the Directive. Women victims of gender-based violence require special attention and protection because of a high risk of repeated victimization and therefore specific measures and specialist support should be insured.
  • The Directive should ensure that all women enjoy the same rights regardless of their origin and purpose of residence and enjoy access to legal protection, psychosocial and financial support by the state without the fear of being deported.

The EWL will closely monitor the discussions within the EP to make sure that the EC approach to victims’ rights fully applies to all women in Europe.

Download the full EWL statement here.

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