Concrete commitment needed to eradicate violence against women and girls

On the occassion of International Women's Day we called on the Commission to show its concrete commitment to the eradication of violence against women and girls. Violence against women (VAW) is the most widespread violation of women’s human rights: in Europe, 7 women die every day because of domestic violence and an average of 25 % of women experience violence from their partner/ex-partner. Every day in Europe women are raped but only 4 to 10% try to find justice, while the majority suffers the traumatic experience of sexual violence without any help. For International Women’s Day 2013, violence against women is on the political agenda: it is being hotly discussed at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In parallel, millions of people around the world including European Commissioners showed their commitment by dancing against VAW within the One Billion Rising initiative on 14 February.

We issued a position paper which highlights VAW as a typical form of severe structural inequality spread across all areas of society and affecting all women, irrespective of whether they also belong to other minority groups. The ones who belong to a minority group are often vulnerable to violence due to their gender in combination with characteristics such as disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and ethnic origin.

The European Commission must act now to ensure that violence against women is high on the European political agenda: by establishing 2015 as the EU Year to End Violence against Women, the Commission will contribute to raising awareness of the issue at European level and give VAW a venue for more concrete political decisions.