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Excluding rape from gender-based violence directive “unforgivable” say S&Ds


28 Jun 2023


Justice & Home Affairs

One in three women in the EU has experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. One in two women has experienced sexual harassment. Gender-based violence, sexual violence and domestic violence are the most widespread violations of women’s rights in Europe. These serious human rights violations are crimes that disproportionately affect women. For the S&D Group, these are crimes that must not go unpunished.

Today, the women's rights and gender equality (FEMM) and civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committees adopted a clear position on the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence in the EU. After national governments failed to include the crime of non-consensual sex as rape in the Council’s position earlier this month, MEPs have sent a strong message that all non-consensual sex must be classified as rape in law in every EU member state. Laws guide attitudes and behaviour in society which is why it is essential to make it clear in EU law that sex without consent is rape. Trilogue negotiations with the Council on the Directive can begin after the plenary vote scheduled for July.          

Evin Incir, S&D MEP and European Parliament’s co-rapporteur on the LIBE committee, said:

“In every walk of life, offline and online, in every corner of Europe, women face violence and abuse because of their gender. Today’s vote takes the EU one step closer to agreeing new laws that will help put an end to violence against women. This sends a strong signal to women across Europe that we are on their side. Unfortunately, there is still a big fight ahead of us in negotiations with the Council. It is totally unacceptable that national governments watered down the Commission’s proposal by removing the criminalisation of rape. It would be an unforgivable insult to all victims and survivors if minimum rules on the offence of rape are not included in this legislation. We are determined to take on the fight with the Council to reverse their position, and in doing so we will give a voice to all victims that gender-based violence is trying to silence.”

Pina Picierno, S&D shadow rapporteur for the FEMM committee, said:

"Today’s vote is a true milestone in the fight against violence against women. For many years, this Parliament has asked for a proposal for a directive to tackle this social tragedy and after months of work, we finally have an ambitious position to start our negotiations with the Council. The text we have finally approved today is extremely advanced and takes into account various aspects that the original proposal did not sufficiently tackle, such as the issue of secondary victimisation and the protection of children witnessing intimate partner violence. We are committed to keeping ambitions high in the coming months while negotiating with the Council, defending the great achievements we have sealed with today's vote."



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