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EU LEVEL DEVELOPMENTS ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
This document provides information on two recent developments at EU level on violence against women:
The institutions involved in the legislative process are: the European Commission, that has launched the proposal of EU accession to the Istanbul Convention; the Council of the European Union, that has to approve both the signature and the conclusion, the European Parliament that has to express its consent for the ratification (the legal term being used is “conclusion”).
According to the European Commission, the areas where the EU has competence are limited to:
Therefore, according to the European Commission proposal of signature and conclusion, the provisions of the Istanbul Convention that do not relate to the above mentioned areas of EU competence, will not apply at EU level.
All the Member States are willing to have the EU signing/ ratifying (except one: Poland). However, there are discussions regarding the extent of competence to which the EU should access and the legal implications. Several countries will prefer to have a “narrower” accession. It can be those who have not ratified the Istanbul Convention but also those who have signed/ratified with reservations.
Majority of Member States want to clear the question of legal background, limitation of competence and legal consequences of signature and ratification – competence and consequence analysis.
While there support from several member states (and the Slovak Presidency) to have the signature done by the end of the year, the ratification will only be done after all dilemma is cleared.
Past FREMP meetings: 12/09/2016; 06/10/2016; 07/10/2016; 4/11/2016; COHOM- FREMP meeting: 2/12/2016
Next FREMP meetings: 1/12/2016; 16/01/2017
Their agendas are not made public.
Next meeting: 6 February 2016 (First one of the Maltese Presidency)
The Justice and Home Affairs Council configuration (JHA) will take the final decision (no dates foreseen).
MATERA Barbara, Italy (LIBE and FEMM)
GARCÍA PÉREZ Iratxe, Spain. (LIBE and FEMM)
GIRLING Julie, UK (FEMM)
MLINAR Angelika, Austria (LIBE and FEMM)
KUNEVA Kostadinka, Greece (FEMM)
VON STORCH Beatrix, Germany (LIBE and FEMM)
You can see the debate here.
In the discussion session, several progressive MEP took the floor in support of the Istanbul Convention (Malin Bjork, Becerra Becerril,etc). Several other extremist conservative MEPs took the floor to alert against the gender theory of the Istanbul Convention.
Other relevant institutions:
They are organising a Conference on violence against women that will take place in February next year (3/02/2017). Invitations are out.
DG Justice has announced a Year of focused actions on violence against women in 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/item-detail.cfm?item_id=37131
NB: It is not a European year. The last one took place in 2015 and was the year on development. In 2016, there has not been a European Year.
Several of the main activities are the following ones:
An Eurobarometer survey on attitudes towards gender-based violence has been published today.[/b]http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/image/document/2016-48/infographic_combat_violence_woman_40135.pdf
According to this survey, almost all Europeans (96%) think that domestic violence against women is unacceptable.
While there is widespread agreement that domestic violence, sexual harassment and other acts of gender-based violence are unacceptable the survey shows that it is still occurs widely. Three quarters of respondents (74%) say that domestic violence against women is common in their country. One quarter of respondents (24%) say they know of a friend or family member who has been a victim of domestic violence.
Moreover, the survey also reveals the persistence of victim-blaming and alarming attitudes about consent. For example, more than one in five respondents (22%) believe that women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape and more than one quarter (27%) think sexual intercourse without consent can be justifiable.
The Governments (the national authority in charge of the policy on equality between women and men or by the national authority in charge of the policy on violence against women) are encouraged to work with a variety of partners, including civil society organizations.
This call for proposals will provide funding for effective national activities (campaigns; exhibitions; education and training programmes; teaching and learning material; exchange of experiences and good practice; seminars and conferences; information days at public or private institutions) aimed at: changing attitudes and behaviours towards violence against women; training relevant professionals; training journalists and media professionals in order to ensure sensitive and appropriate reporting of the issue and incidents; encouraging men and boys to challenge sexism and gender norms that encourage violence against women, and actively engage in the fight against violence against women; informing victims about their rights and the support services (shelters, helplines etc.) and protection measures available in their country (including the availability of cross-border protection measures).
Deadline to submit proposals: 27 October 2016, 12:00 (noon) Central European Time.
In its letter to the European Commission, European coalition to end violence against women and girls has expressed their disappointment on the fact this call was open only to governments and that cooperation with civil society NGOs and women’s organisations was not made compulsory.
Opening date: 24 November. Deadline 8 March 2017.
The applicants and partners must be public entities or private organisations or international organizations, including NGOs.
In its letter to the European Commission, European coalition to end violence against women and girls has expressed their disappointment on the fact this the call f to promote access to justice and support of victims of gender-based violence, also includes in the same call the treatment of perpetrators as it is really important that the work with perpetrators does not have the same source of funding as the work with women and girls.