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Historic landmark: the European Commission publishes its Directive proposal to fight violence against women and domestic violence

[Strasbourg, 8 March 2022] On International Women’s Day, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomes the European Commission’s legislative proposal on combating violence against women and domestic violence released today. This marks a historic moment and an unprecedented success for the EWL and its members, who have long fought to bring the issue of violence against women and girls on the EU political agenda.

The increase of violence against women and girls (VAWG) during the Covid-19 pandemic, the developments of new forms of online VAWG, and the pending EU ratification of the Istanbul Convention have made it even more necessary to act swiflty at the EU level and deliver strong legislation to combat all forms of violence against women and girls.

In its landmark Directive proposal disclosed today, the European Commission proposes to fill significant legislative gaps on VAWG across the EU, especially on the legal definition of rape, the recognition of female genital mutilation as a criminal offence and the prosecution of key forms of online violence. It also seeks to bring harmonisation in penalties, limitation periods for the prosecution and decision on the covered forms of violence, access to justice and support services to women and girls throughout the EU.

However, we believe the proposal can be strengthened by:

Réka Sáfrány, President of the European Women’s Lobby said: “We warmly welcome the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on combatting violence against women and domestic violence and celebrate this historic moment that will improve the lives of women and girls in the EU. I congratulate Commission President von der Leyen, Vice-President Jourová and Commisioner Dalli for showing great feminist leadership and delivering on their political promises. Now, we call on the European Parliament, the French, Czech and Swedish Presidencies to strengthen the text further and ensure that all women and girls in the EU live free from all forms of violence.”

Konstantina Vardaramatou, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby said: “This Directive is a milestone to achieve equality between women and men and shows us once and for all that violence against women and girls is a European issue - not a private or national one. We will continue to work with the European Parliament and the EU Member States to further improve this groundbreaking proposal and ensure the swift ratification of the Istanbul Convention.”


Claire Fourçans, Policy and Campaigns Director EWL

For media enquiries:

Adriana Paradiso, Communications & Media Coordinator EWL
+32 465576876

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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