Criminalise violence against women across Europe


Criminalise violence against women across Europe

Important notice
Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the group as a whole
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Keys in one hand, phone in the other, live location shared with friends and a message saying “text me when you get home”; these precautions sound sadly familiar to most women. They are basic measures that many women and girls feel compelled to take when walking alone at night, and sometimes even during the day. Home should be a safe space, but sadly, it is not for many women who become victims to the very people who should care for them.

The figures on violence against women are staggering: one in every two women have experienced sexual harassment, while six in ten women stay away from isolated places and one in four avoid being alone with someone they know. These precautions are not without reason. On average, two women are killed every day by a partner or family member. However, cases of physical or sexual abuse within the home are severely underreported: only a third of all cases are reported to the police. These disturbing events do not take place in some distant country, but every day in the European Union.

We, in the EPP Group, believe that it is time for decisive action. We want to eliminate violence against women. We led the negotiations to criminalise violence against women everywhere in Europe. It is time to consider violence against women a crime in the EU Treaties, its inclusion means that EU Member States are compelled to protect victims and punish perpetrators of violence against women, including cyber violence, and apply the same standards to prevent those crimes as those applied to other serious EU crimes.

Many threats arise from the digital space, such as bullying, publishing intimate pictures without consent, and sexual harassment. We are committed to tackling them with an EU Action Plan against Cyberbullying, which will include child abuse. We firmly believe that all different forms of online bullying should be criminalised across Europe and that the exponential increase in harm caused by the use of the internet should be taken into account as an aggravating factor.

Public awareness has perhaps never been higher as cases of violence against women multiply in Europe, and the news continues to report on brutal assaults or assassinations of young girls and women almost daily. We must firmly place the issue on the political agenda at all levels to prevent violence and act swiftly to support victims, addressing their needs and ensuring their security.

Empowering women is crucial, but so is sparking discussion and reflection in our societies on tackling the epidemic of violence against women. For the EPP Group it is clear: no woman should be afraid of going for a walk. No woman should not fear retaliation from a partner or be subject to any form of abuse in her private or professional life. We stand with women and girls in this fight.

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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