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An analysis of the Victims’ Rights Directive from a gender perspective

March 3rd 2017

Report prepared by Sylwia Spurek, PhD

This EIGE report analyses Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA, also called the ‘Victims’ Rights Directive’. The analysis has been conducted from a gender perspective.

The study is focused on the specificities of the implementation of the Directive vis‑à‑vis victims of gender‑based violence and their access to justice. The aim is to assess the Directive from the perspective of victims of gender‑based violence so as to critically examine measures that could be counterproductive or cause unintended effects, as well as those that could support victims.

The report is divided into three parts. The first part of the report — Introduction — includes definitions of gender‑based violence that are provided in international documents adopted in both the United Nations’ universal systems and in regional systems — namely, the European Union and Council of Europe. It also refers to the most relevant standards for gender‑based violence victim protection measures and data collection developed within these systems and by other organisations. The end of the first part provides background information on the context of the Victims’ Rights Directive.

The methodology is presented in detail in the second part. The third and essential part of the report is an analysis of the Directive from a gender perspective, taking into account the particular situation of victims of gender‑based violence. Every article of the Directive is analysed separately using two methods: firstly, according to the rules of legal interpretation, and secondly, in the form of a SWOT analysis, which identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Directive’s implementation.

Article 26. Cooperation and coordination of services

P.49 The provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence refer to cooperation— both international (paragraph 1) and with non‑governmental organisations — when it comes to awareness‑raising (paragraph 2). Special attention should be paid to Article 13 of this Convention, which concerns awareness‑raising. Under this provision, parties shall promote or conduct, on a regular basis and at all levels, awareness‑raising campaigns or programmes, including in cooperation with national human rights institutions and equality bodies, civil society and non‑governmental organisations, especially women’s organisations, where appropriate, to increase awareness and understanding among the general public of the different manifestations of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, their consequences on children and the need to prevent such violence. Parties shall ensure the wide dissemination of information among the general public on measures available to prevent acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention. Thus, the Convention highlights the need for cooperation with relevant non‑governmental organisations. The Directive itself refers on several occasions to cooperation with non‑governmental organisations. However, taking into account the scope of the Directive — protecting and supporting the victims of violence — it seems that it should emphasise this cooperation to a much greater extent.

This report was prepared by Dr. Sylwia Spurek, now Deputy Human Rights Commissioner for Equal Treatment at the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights.