EWL News

Seal the Deal and Adopt the VAW Directive Now

[Brussels, 21 April 2024] Ahead of the last European Parliament Plenary session this week, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) calls on all MEPs to adopt the deal on the Directive on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

This is the first-ever EU legislation to protect women and girls and respond to the specific needs of its victims.

We want to be very clear: supporting women’s rights means supporting this Directive now.

The negotiation process lasted two years – and a much longer process of women’s organisations’ lobbying to push for a Directive. This process meant a deep engagement from women’s organisations and a lasting dialogue between all the political actors involved. At this stage, any hesitation is a betrayal of all our efforts, hopes and commitments.

We fought hard for this Directive, and we fought hard for the inclusion of the article harmonising the criminal definition of rape as per the standards of the Istanbul Convention. Despite our best efforts, this was not agreed upon due to the persistent blockage of EU Member States. Yet, this Directive represents a crucial ground to protect women in Europe and overcomes important gaps, namely on cyberviolence and minimum rules for protection and access to justice for victims (see here EWL initial analysis of the deal on the Directive). The adoption of the Directive is a key milestone and a first step in the right direction. The EWL will continue to campaign relentlessly for the extension of its scope to address all forms of sexual and exploitation, namely rape, sexual harassment and forced sterilisation.

At this point of the legislative process, there is no possibility of rectification or amendment to the deal. Any initiative that falsely claims to work on a specific article will put the whole Directive at risk of being shelved, dashing women’s hopes of protection against violence in Europe.

At this point, the only choice is between adopting a Directive on combating Violence against women or losing this opportunity – not knowing if, or when, another similar chance will come up in the near future.

We call on MEPs to take their responsibility for the 250 million women in Europe. Seal the deal and adopt this directive now!

It is imperative to seize this historic moment to secure and adopt the first-ever Directive on combating violence against women that will have a huge impact on the lives of women and girls not only today but for future generations.

Let this be your legacy.

In sisterhood,
The European Women’s Lobby

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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