The European Commission should put forward a draft law with measures to prevent gender-based violence against women in the EU by the end of the year, Women’s Rights MEPs say in a legislative text adopted on 23 January. All kinds of gender-based violence should be considered as a crime, MEPs add.
“There is no doubt that violence against women has a cross border dimension and needs to be tackled at EU level. EU leadership is needed more than ever. The EU should help ensure that a life free from violence becomes a reality for all women in the EU“, rapporteur Antonyia Parvanova (ALDE, BG) said.
To combat violence against women, MEPs call on member states to introduce prevention measures, education programmes and trainings, exchange of information and best practices, awareness-raising campaigns and better data collection. Policy, prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships are the most important working areas, MEPs add.
They also stress that gender-based violence involves victims and perpetrators of all ages, educational backgrounds, incomes and social positions and is linked to the unequal distribution of power between women and men and to ideas and behaviours based on stereotypes in our society.
Need for minimum harmonisation
There is a substantial absence of a common understanding, definition and regime on the issue of violence against women in national legislation and the levels of protection of women and girls against all forms of violence in the European Union differ widely, the adopted text points out.
Traumas and economic cost
“Women, who are subject of violence, face long term severe psychological and physical traumas. Besides the significant economic burden it imposes in the form of healthcare costs, policing and legal costs, lost productivity and wages. According to EAVA the economic cost of violence against women in the EU in 2011 is estimated to EUR 228 billion each year, including EUR 45 billion for services, EUR 24 billion in lost economic output and EUR 159 billion on pain and suffering. The costs of preventive measures are substantially lower than the cost of violence”, Ms Parvanova highlighted.
Women and children who experienced violence need specific shelters where they get health care, legal and psychological aid, says the text.
This year International Women’s Day which will be celebrated in the European Parliament on March 5 will be dedicated to the fight against violence against women.
© European Parliament 23/01/2014