“Violence against women is not a private issue. It is a serious crime and continues to be a huge problem in Europe. Too often, violence against women is tolerated and it is our responsibility to join forces to combat impunity and protect victims. The time has come to build a culture of respect for women and girls’ dignity, to combat stereotypes and to focus on prevention”, said Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, EPP Group Deputy Spokeswoman in the Women's Rights Committee, on the occasion of a debate on the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention today in plenary. A Resolution on the subject will be voted on tomorrow.

In the EU, one in three women has experienced physical or sexual acts of violence during their lifetime. To actively participate in the fight against this scourge, the European Commission proposed in March 2016 the EU’s accession, within its competences and alongside the Member States, to the Istanbul Convention. This text requires its parties to improve the protection of victims of violence and ensure prosecution of offenders in several respects such as criminalising violence against women (psychological or physical), empowering the police to remove a perpetrator of domestic violence from the home, and giving victims access to shelters.

“By accessing this convention, the EU would also get a clear mandate to force Member States to collect and send accurate and comparable data on violence to Eurostat to help better understand and fight the phenomenon. It is a great tool that could save many women and girls’ lives”, said Barbara Matera, Vice-Chairwoman of the Women's Rights Committee.

“Just days before the international day for the elimination of violence against women, the EU and the Member States must lead by example and act concretely. This is why we are waiting for a clear answer from the Council to speed up the process of accessing the Istanbul Convention and what concrete steps the Commission is taking to ensure Member States* ratify the Convention”, explained Constance le Grip, EPP Group Spokeswoman in the Women's Rights Committee.

“Every day, whether at home, in public spaces or on social media, women and girls continue to be exposed to violence, discrimination and harassment. The EPP Group must have a zero tolerance policy as regards violence against women and girls”, concluded the three MEPs.

*All European Member States have signed up to the Istanbul Convention but only 14 have ratified it.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States

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