EU Directive on violence against women

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest umbrella organization of women’s associations in Europe, is urging all EU Member States to make Europe a safe place for all women and girls. Since 2020, the EWL developed a campaign calling for the swift adoption of a robust Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. More information is provided below.

In April/May 2024, EWL applauded the adoption of the EU Directive 2024/1385 on combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The adoption of this Directive marks a crucial step towards ensuring the safety and protection of women and girls in all spheres of life, including online. As highlighted in the EWL’s analysis of the agreed text, with this Directive the EU recognises for the first time that violence against women is an obstacle to achieving equality between women and men for which the EU has an obligation to fulfil, as stipulated in the treaties.

This Directive sets crucial obligations for all EU Member States to uphold their legal obligations and policies to end violence against women. EWL urges Member States to immediately implement the Directive, and to put in place comprehensive rules to save women’s and girls’ lives. Member States must take into account the indispensable expertise of women’s organisations and women’s specialist services in the front line addressing all forms of violence against women and supporting its survivors with a gender-sensitive and intersectional perspective.

While celebrating this significant milestone, the European Women’s Lobby regrets the blockage of several key aspects of the Directive by the Council, especially the infuriating decision imposed by France and Germany to exclude Article 5 on the harmonised definition of rape based on consent in line with the standards of the Istanbul Convention.

This campaign continues as the EWL remains committed to further improve the Directive and extending its scope ; namely to add the provisions on the harmonisation of the offence of rape based on the lack of freely given consent; the harmonised definition of forced sterilisation and sexual harassment; and the inclusion of all forms of sexual and reproductive exploitation.

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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