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2017 European Year of focused action to fight violence against women

November 24th 2017

Equality Bodies taking a stand to combat violence against women!

2017 has been designated by the European Commission as the year dedicated to combating violence against women. Many equality bodies are on the forefront of this work, carrying out projects aimed at developing and implementing practical and targeted information to combat violence against women, as well as awareness-raising and education activities. 25 November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Background

  • One in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15;
  • 75 % of women in a professional job or in top management have experienced sexual harassment;
  • One in ten women has experienced sexual harassment or stalking through new technologies.

Gender-based violence is a brutal form of discrimination and a violation of the victim’s fundamental rights. It is both a cause and a consequence of inequalities between women and men.

Gender-based violence happens everywhere, in every society and EU country, regardless of social background, whether at home, at work, at school, in the street or online.

Not only does it affect women’s health and well-being, but it can hamper women’s access to employment, thereby negatively affecting their financial independence and the economy in general.

Find more on the description of gender-based violence here.

Statistics

Gender Equality Index 2017
Gender Equality Index 2017

For a more detailed overview of the statistics, see European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)’s Gender Equality Index 2017, incorporating violence against women as a satellite domain for the first time.

Violence against women is a much bigger problem than the statistics show, with almost one in two women (47%) who have experienced violence have never told anyone, whether that be the police, health services, a friend, neighbour or colleague. Disclosed violence is only a fraction of the reality.

EIGE has developed a new measurement framework to shed light on the spectrum of violence against women that ranges from harassment to death (femicide). It also helps to measure forms of violence, such as human trafficking, intimate partner violence, sexual assault and rape. This tool can help Member States who have ratified the Istanbul Convention, with their monitoring and reporting obligations.

What is the European Commission doing to stop violence against women?

Say No! Campaign
Say No! Campaign

Among other approaches, the European Commission:

  • protects women and children from gender-based violence through legislation and practical measures on victims’ rights;
  • raises awareness, by co-funding campaigns run by national governments, and supports transnational projects run by non-governmental organisations combatting violence against women, children and young people;
  • facilitates finding common solutions among EU countries, by organising exchanges of good practice;
  • develops knowledge about the phenomenon of gender-based violence;

For more information on combatting gender based violence by the European Commission, see here. The website for their ’Say No! is available here.

Equality Bodies fighting violence against women

Belgium: Impact of domestic violence on work
Survey Results
Survey Results

The Belgian Institute for Equality of Women and Men just released the results of a national online survey on the impact of domestic violence on work, workers and in workplaces. The survey consisted of over 40 questions that focused on workers’ experiences with domestic violence and the workplace. Those with personal domestic violence experience were asked additional questions, such as how the violence affected their work and their co-workers, whether they discussed the violence with anyone at work, and what types of support they received. Approximately 28% of respondents reported having experienced domestic violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, of which, 33.7% of women reported experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime and 14.9% of men reported experiencing domestic violence in their life time. Read more here.

Regional Workshop on eliminating violence against women

In April 2017, a regional workshop for equality bodies on eliminating violence against women was held in Tbilisi, organised in cooperation by the European Commission, the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia and Equinet, within the framework of the European Commission’s Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument. This was one of the official events of the European Commission’s year of focused actions to combat violence against women.

Experts from Belgium, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the UK, Spain and Croatia shared their expertise on fighting violence against women, with the aim of empowering independent organisations promoting equality, assisting victims of discrimination, monitoring and reporting on discrimination issues in Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). Read more here.

Action grants to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women

In 2016, the European Commission opened a call for proposals for action grants to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women, under the Daphne scheme. We are happy that three of our members were accepted to implement their suggested actions to combat violence against women:

  • Ombudsperson for Gender Equality (Croatia): Judges and state attorneys from Croatia will be trained to address existing barriers to effective legal protection of women who are victims of violence.
  • Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (Lithuania): Health care, social work and child care professionals in Lithuania will be trained to broaden their knowledge and awareness of violence against women, whilst victims will be empowered.
  • Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (Portugal): Education, social security, justice and security professionals from Portugal will learn how to recognise sexual violence as a form of violence in intimate relationships.

Read a summary of all winning proposals here.

These projects were amongst those being presented at the Maltese Presidency Conference on Violence against Women, taking place on 3 February, 2017. They were also referred to in the opening speech given by Commissioner for Gender Equality Vera Jourova.

A list of other equality bodies working on violence against women can be found in the European Directory of Equality Bodies.

Equinet focus on combating violence against women

Equinet is carrying out a project to Combat Violence Against Women and Gender Based Violence. The project encourages members to look at new challenges and opportunities presented by the EU’s proposed accession to the Istanbul Convention as it applies to equality bodies. Cooperation with international partners and civil society (such as the European coalition to end violence against women and girls) is foreseen. The project runs through 2017 and 2018 and aims to:

  • Take stock of equality bodies’ experiences in working with violence against women and gender based violence from the perspective of discrimination against women;
  • Explore the challenges and opportunities inherent in combining an equality and human rights mandate/perspective on this issue;
  • Contribute to the European agenda to combat violence against women.

The final aim of the project is twofold:

  • To build capacity, share experiences and explore challenges of equality bodies in working with violence against women.
  • To share the experiences of equality bodies in the field of violence against women with international partners.

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