Make online violence against women a crime throughout Europe

14.12.2021 8:56

Make online violence against women a crime throughout Europe

Cyber harassment [nid:115383]

The European Parliament today calls on the European Commission to take strong action to eradicate violence against women online. “This is a monumental and much-needed step for women’s rights in the EU and comes as an initiative of the EPP Group", stressed Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi MEP and Maria Walsh MEP.

Vozemberg drafted Parliament's Report on behalf of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee. Walsh negotiated the initiative on behalf of the EPP Group in Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee.

One in five young women aged between 18 and 29 have reported online cyber sexual harassment in the EU. Gender-based cyber violence is increasing and affects not only victims, but also businesses and society as a whole.

“Gender-based cyber violence is a growing phenomenon that has a significant impact on victims, on their dignity, and in all aspects of their lives. This form of violence is a continuum of offline gender-based violence. In the digital era, the internet has facilitated a wide range of emerging forms of violence, ranging from posting offensive comments and images to hate speech, bullying and sexual abuse”, said Vozemberg.

"We must put a stop to online abuse. It is simply not good enough for the European Union and policymakers across Member States and platforms to fail to protect our citizens online, especially our women and girls”, underlined Walsh.

“With this legislative proposal, we urge the Commission to make gender-based cyber violence a criminal offence throughout Europe and to set minimum sanctions. Moreover, we also urge the Commission to promote and support the actions of Member States in the field of prevention, and to protect, support and ensure compensation for the victims”, continued Vozemberg.

“The European Commission is currently preparing an EU campaign on victims’ rights with a budget of two million Euros, which will have a special focus on victims of gender-based violence, domestic violence and LGBTQI+ hate crime. This will be a valuable tool in raising awareness of this crime”, concluded Walsh.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 177 Members from all EU Member States

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