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Number of cases of violence against women increasing, warns Council of Europe

[Strasbourg, 30 November 2012] “Statistics indicate an increase in the number of cases of violence against women and domestic violence,” the members of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) warned at a meeting in Andorra today.

In a unanimously-adopted declaration, they called on member states to continue allocating adequate funding to shelters and assistance programmes for victims of violence, strengthen preventive measures and to sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention which, once it enters into force, will make a tangible contribution to the protection of human rights, and help save thousands of lives. This declaration is part of activities organised by PACE’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination to contribute to the “16 days of activism against gender violence” proclaimed by the United Nations.

Read below the Statement adopted by the Standing Committee of PACE, on 30 November 2012:

Countering violence against women: the economic crisis shall not put it on hold

Violence against women is a human rights violation. States should not relent in their efforts to prevent it, assist its victims, and prosecute offenders, even at a time of economic crisis. This is moreover crucial at this juncture, as statistics indicate an increase in the number of cases of violence against women and domestic violence, probably linked to the higher unemployment rate and the difficult socio-economic conditions of many households.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls on member states to continue allocating adequate funding to shelters and assistance programmes for victims of violence.

In addition, the Assembly calls on member states to place more emphasis on preventive measures, including through activities and campaigns that reach out to the general public and can contribute to the evolution of mentalities. The human and financial cost of preventing violence is much less than the cost of tackling violence after it has taken place.

Finally, the Assembly reiterates its appeal to member states to demonstrate their commitment to combating violence against women also by signing, if they have not yet done so, and ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). Once it enters into force, the Istanbul Convention will give a tangible contribution to the protection of human rights, and help save thousands of lives.

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