Sunday, June 5, 2011

Join the call for a European Year 2013 to end violence against women

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Join the call for a European Year 2013 to end violence against women!
Posted on 29 April 2011

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has initiated a broad European advocacy movement, gathering NGOs and decision-makers, lobbying for an EU comprehensive action on violence against women and for 2013 to be the European Year on combating and preventing violence against women.

Why a European Year 2013 to end violence against women?
European Year 2013 is the best way to draw attention to the spread phenomenon of violence against women and its impacts on society. Through the establishment of such year, EU and national institutions raise awareness on the issue and renew their political commitment to end violence against women. This is the perfect opportunity to propose concrete measures together with awareness activities and a media campaign: by coupling the EU Year and an EU comprehensive policy framework to end violence against women, the EU would demonstrate its genuine commitment to take the lead towards a Europe free from all forms of violence against women.

A recurrent demand of the European Parliament
Already in 2009, the European Parliament had asked the European Commission to declare, within the next five years, a ’European Year on Zero Tolerance of Violence against Women’, in a written declaration adopted in April. In October 2010, more than half of the MEPs adopted a new written declaration on establishing a European Year of Combating Violence against Women. Such call for a European Year has been repeatedly demanded in many EP resolutions and reports dealing with women’s rights and equality between women and men over the last two years. It’s now time to act and use the opportunity of the EC’s commitment to deliver a strategy, and have a concrete comprehensive and effective EU action aiming at ending violence against women through legislative and awareness activities.

No EU legislation so far on violence against women!
To date, the EU has no binding legislation in place to deal with this most pervasive human rights abuse within its borders. The last few years have nevertheless witnessed an increased political willingness to change this, with multiple calls from the European Parliament for action, the prioritisation of the issue by the Trio Presidency, Council Conclusions mandating the European Commission to devise a Strategy on violence against women and consider legal instruments, and numerous commitments to this effect by the EU executive. In parallel, the European Fundamental Rights Agency and European Institute for Gender Equality have launched initiatives to gather much needed comparable European data on the issue, and the Daphne Programme has built up a solid foundation of expertise and good practices throughout the Union in the prevention of violence against women.

Violence against women is a pervasive human rights violation
Violence against women is a human rights issue. It affects approximately 45% of all women across Europe. An estimated one-fifth of women in the EU suffer from violence within the home and more than one in ten women is a victim of sexual violence involving the use of force: in the UK, 80 000 women experience rape or attempted rape; in France, one woman is killed every three days by her partner. Domestic violence alone costs EU Member States as much as 16 billion Euros every year – or one million Euros every half hour. The annual budgets of EU Member States for prevention programmes of violence against women are 1000 times less than this figure, and this despite consistent Euro-barometer survey results highlighting widespread concern for the prevalence and scope of violence against women, including within the family.
Violence against women is a political issue, both cause and consequence of inequality between women and men. In addition to the direct impacts on individuals and the aggregate social costs, male violence against women shapes women’s place in society: their access to employment and education, integration into social and cultural activities, economic independence, participation in public and political life and decision-making, health and relations with men. At the same time, inequality between women and men creates the conditions for violence against women and legitimises it.

The urgency of an EU Year and action to end violence against women: support the call for EY2013!
The time is therefore ripe for a comprehensive approach to ending violence against women within the EU’s borders and for a European Commission commitment to elaborate an EU policy framework on combating violence against women by 2012. Such action has to be accompanied by a clear public message that violence against women is a pervasive violation of women’s rights, through the establishment of 2013 as the European Year on combating and preventing violence against women.

Join our coalition and advocate for EU action to end violence against women now and a European Year 2013 dedicated to this goal!

Sign up to the European Coalition EY2013 to end violence against women

Signatory Organisations
• AGE Platform Europe -
• COFACE - The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union -
• IPPF European Network - International Planned Parenthood Federation -
• Mental Health Europe -
• PICUM - Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants -
• EAPN - European Anti-Poverty Network -

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