11 March 2022

EWLA welcomes the new EU draft Directive on combating violence against women

EWLA welcomes the new EU proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence. 

EWLA especially supports actions ensuring safety of all women. This new Proposal encompasses comprehensive measures. They are a stepping stone in the work to eradicating violence against women and domestic violence with concrete and effective measures at European level. The key elements of the Proposal include: 

1. Criminalisation of rape, female genital mutilation, and cyper violence;

2. Safe reporting and risk assessment procedures;

3. Respect for victims’ privacy in judicial proceedings and right to compensation;

4. Support for victims through helplines and rape crisis centres; and

5. Better coordination and cooperation. 

EWLA shares the worries outlined in the Conclusion of the European Commission´s annual report on gender equality in the EU 2022 which indicates that it is important to counter the cover of the pandemic as a means of sliding backwards on gender equality measures and principles. 

Reporting shows that violence against women and domestic violence has risen during the pandemic. One out of every three women in the EU over the age of 15 years has experienced physical and/or sexual violence, one in two women has experenced sexual harassment, and one in ten has experienced online harassment. Within the criminal justice system, women are often victimised a second time or not heard or represented at all. This must change. Ensuring that the most common instances of violence against women are criminalised at pan-European level sends a strong signal that these will no longer be tolerated. Time’s up! 

EWLA agrees with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, when she stated: “The time for justice and equality is now”. 

President of EWLA, Katharina Miller states: “We have waited a long time for this draft directive and have called for it. We are looking forward to scrutinising in detail the draft and providing expert legal guidance on its provisions. EWLA is proud to be part of Europe that stands up for women and presents real measures to serious problems such as are contained in this proposal. Women have been suffering from violence such as rape, mutilation and online harassement for too long. It is time for positive change and that change is coming.”

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