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EWL highlights progress and gaps on violence against women at Europe at launch of ‘Progress of the World’s Women in Pursuit of Justice’

[Brussels, 24 November 2011] On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination on Violence against Women, UN Women launched in Brussels its new publication ‘Progress of the World’s Women in Pursuit of Justice’ with a panel discussion to officially share the findings and recommendations of the report with the European Union institutions, EU Member States, civil society and key partners based in Brussels.

The panel gathered Ms Lakshmi Puri, Deputy-Director of UN Women, representatives of the European Commission (DG Development) and the European External Action Service; Ms Lochbihler from the European Parliament and the EWL, represented by Colette De Troy, Director of the EWL Observatory on Violence against Women.

‘In Pursuit of Justice focuses on women’s access to justice. This stems from the recognition that laws and justice systems that work well are the foundation of gender equality. In every region, laws still discriminate against women, and even where laws are in place, there are vast implementation gaps’, says Ms Puri, introducing the report. Meanwhile, the institutions of justice – the police, the courts and the legal aid system – too often fail to meet women’s needs. She highlighted a number of examples of where women have been able to access justice and where governments, civil society and individuals have successfully pushed for change, but much more is needed.

The report puts forward ten key recommendations, which are based on ten proven approaches to making justice systems work for women.

Commenting the worldwide report, Colette De Troy presented the situation in the EU and welcomed the recommendations: although Europe is one of the most developed regions, where formal equality is recognised by legislation, In Europe, 45% of women in Europe have suffered from men’s violence and only a small proportion report the crimes or find justice; in all European countries, we face high levels of attrition in the course of investigations and prosecutions. In general, a more favorable environment for reporting on VAW is desperately needed.

There are several obstacles for women to report violence. One of the first is a lack of awareness of their rights; but there ais also a lack of specialised support services and legal aid, and a fear for further victimisation. We still need integrated responses: A National Action Plan on violence against women is the minimum requirement and to some extent, the benchmark against which progress can be measured. Ms. Detroy called on the European Union in its leadership role for fight against violence against women,

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