EU countries urged to act now to fight violence against women

S&D Euro MPs today urged EU member states to ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on violence against women (the so-called ‚Istanbul convention‘) and called on the European Commission to present a law to address this issue.

In Europe, seven women are killed every day and one woman in five has experienced severe physical violence at least once in her life.

During a seminar held today in Brussels, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said:

„Violence against women is sadly still a problem of pandemic proportions. It affects women in all socio-economic groups in society.

„The Council of Europe convention on violence against women is the first and the most far-reaching legally binding instrument on violence against women.

„It compels governments to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on violence against women. For the first time, violence and domestic violence against women are no longer private matters. Governments must prevent violence, protect victims and punish perpetrators.

„So far, only 17 EU member states have signed the convention and just one EU country – Portugal – has ratified it.

„All EU countries must sign and ratify this convention as soon as possible“, he stressed.

Said S&D vice-president Corina Creţu:

„Every year, gender-based violence kills and disables as many women as cancer does. Today we are sending a strong signal that it can no longer continue.

„The Socialists and Democrats have long been committed to combatting violence against women.

„Again we urge the European Commission to propose a directive inspired by the convention.

„We fully support the campaign launched by the Party of European Socialists in favour of the Istanbul convention and a European directive on violence against women.“

Said S&D group spokeswoman Britta Thomsen:

„Since 2009 we have made some progress, especially on protecting victims‘ rights.

„As more and more people are travelling around in Europe, it is important to have common rules to protect victims.

„The protection order will ensure that any victim of violence can be protected by a restraining order not only in the country where the events occurred but in any EU member state.

„Much more needs to be done. More than 600 million women live in countries where violence against women is not a crime. There is still a long way to go especially to protect women in armed conflicts.“