Violence against women and the role of gender equality, social inclusion and health strategies
Violence against women is the single most prevalent and universal violation of human rights. It knows no geographical boundaries, no age limit, no class distinction, no cultural or racial differences and it has strong implications for gender equality, social inclusion and health.
The elimination of gender based violence is a priority area of the European Commission’s Women’s Charter adopted in March 2010 and of its Strategy for equality between women and men adopted in September 2010, which express the Commission’s commitment to propose an effective and comprehensive strategy to fight violence against women. While the primary responsibility to combat violence against women is of the Member States, the European Union has a strong role to play via Council conclusions, resolutions by the European Parliament, funding support, awareness-raising activities and the promotion of exchanges of good practices, to name but a few of its undertakings. In European countries the political commitment to combating violence against women has increased over the last decade, thanks to the strong commitment and actions of the international institutions, women’s movements and NGOs. This is evident in the improvements in both data availability and the legislative and policy measures adopted in the 33 countries considered in this report. However, there are still many weaknesses and loopholes in the way violence against women is presented in the social and political debate and in the ways it is addressed.
The purpose of this study is to provide a systematic analysis and insight into the social aspects of violence against women, considering all types of violence (e.g. physical, psychological and sexual) and focusing primarily on analysis of gender equality, social inclusion and health strategies, as well as the action plans available to combat violence, and paying specific attention to the three angles of prevention, treatment, and reintegration of victims into society. The goal is to present a clear picture of what takes place in these domains within the 27 Member States, the three EEA/EFTA countries and the three candidate countries (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey). The information in this report was mainly provided by the national experts of the EGGSI network of experts in gender equality, social inclusion, healthcare and long-term care.
The report is organized in three chapters: the first summarises the main features of violence against women in Europe. The second chapter gives an over- view of policies addressing violence against women from the perspective of prevention, support for the victim and social reintegration. The final chapter presents some general conclusions.