Towards a Europe Free from Male Violence Against Women and Girls – Marking 10 years of the Istanbul Convention

[Brussels, 14 April 2021] The European Women’s Lobby is committed to eliminating all forms of male violence against women and girls. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention, is the most comprehensive legislative instrument to date in Europe that fully tackles violence against women and girls. Ahead of the Convention’s 10th anniversary, the EWL is pleased to present its report “Towards a Europe Free from Male Violence Against Women and Girls”.

This report sets out to analyse the achievements made to date across countries that have ratified the Convention. It is a call for all EU Member States to recognise the Convention’s added-value in protecting and promoting EU fundamental values, including equality between women and men, and to champion its implementation across the region to ensure a Europe free from violence.

This report was developed with the EWL’s Observatory on Violence against Europe, and was led by Valentina Andrasek, EWL observatory expert from Croatia between 2019 and 2020. The report celebrates the significant achievements accomplished in such a short period of time across four pillars of the Istanbul Convention: prevention of violence, protection of survivors and reparation, prosecution of perpetrators and integrated policies.

Yet the reality remains that persisting structural inequalities between women and men continue to prevent the full elimination of violence against women and girls. This includes the political block preventing EU accession to the Istanbul Convention, and the active backlash against women’s and girl’s rights as recently seen in Poland and Turkey. Concerted action is urgently needed at all levels to ensure an intersectional, gender-sensitive approach to all laws, policies and budgets. This must recognise the links between sexism and violence against women and girls, and the multiple forms of discrimination that exacerbate this risk to violence. In particular, we have heard from our members about the experiences of women with disabilities, and migrant women and girls who are exposed to this.

Furthermore, with the alarming surge in cases of violence against women during COVID-19 (see EWL’s policy brief), the EWL recognises that with the political backlash against the Istanbul Convention, there is yet to be any other legal instrument at EU level that holistically ensures the elimination of all forms of violence against women across Member States. As such, to complement the provisions in the Istanbul Convention, the EWL is calling for an EU Directive to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation and online violence against women and girls.

Now is the time to fully implement and champion the standards of the Istanbul Convention everywhere in Europe without reservation to ensure the eradication of male violence against women and girls and its root causes during the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond.

Read our report now!

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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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