EWL News

EWL unveils a new factsheet on violence against women

[Brussels, 14 February 2016] To mark One Billion Rising 2016- the global action to end violence against women initated by V-Day-, the European Women’s Lobby has unveiled a new factsheet on violence against women, highlighting our demands to the EU and the Member States.

EWL factsheet on VAW 2016 final

Violence against women is a very prevalent phenomenon in Europe, and a cause and consequence of the persistent inequality between women and men. The results of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) European wide survey on violence against women published in March 2014 show how violence affects women everyday in every countries: one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15; one in five women has experienced stalking; every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment.

“Learning strategies for survival is a continuous lesson about what it means to be a woman” (Elizabeth Stanko).

However, violence against women is still shrouded in silence: it remains trivialised, invisible and it is not being considered as a political priority. Due to the lack of sensitisation and adequate public policies, women victims of violence in Europe are not being sufficiently protected: they suffer from second victimisation as they are often blamed for the violence they suffer; they suffer from lack of protection services where they can turn to; and a high rate of impunity of the perpetrators. Women need protection and justice!

Moreover, the current socioeconomic context has also aggravated the situation having a negative impact on the lives of women in Europe. The economic crisis has aggravated the unequal power relations between women and men and leads to an increase of violence. Moreover, the persistent back-lash in terms of women’s rights in various countries in Europe and the lack of political will are posing a continuous threat to any progress in combatting violence against women. In this same regard, the socio-economic situation has also meant cutbacks in public spending for comprehensive public services to combat violence against women. Everything from specialised police and medical services to access to justice and essential shelters for survivors have been subject to cutbacks.

National legislations on violence against women varies greatly in every county in Europe: the level of protection of the female population against all forms of violence differ widely from one country to the other. In many member States, the overwhelming majority of services for victims of various forms of violence against women, are run by non-governmental or civil society organisations. They have a long tradition of providing shelter, legal advice, medical and psychological counselling as well as of running hotlines and other essential services.

The European Union (EU) has only fragmented pieces of legislation and fails to tackle the issue of violence against women in a coherent manner for all women and girls in Europe.

This is why the European Women’s Lobby calls :

  • on the European Union to adopt and implement an EU Strategy to end all forms of violence against women in Europe, based on the 6 Ps: Policy, Prosecution, Prevention, Protection, service Provision and Partnership.
  • on the EU and its member states to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

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