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Stop violence against women and domestic violence!


08 Mar 2022


Justice & Home Affairs

The Socialists and Democrats welcome the European Commission’s proposed Directive to combat violence against women and domestic violence, presented today on International Women’s Day.

Although the S&Ds would have preferred a more comprehensive law, covering all forms of gender-based violence and implementing the standards of the Istanbul Convention, they consider today’s proposal a big step towards eradicating violence against women, a key S&D demand for over a decade now.  

The proposed directive – drafted under the leadership of Commissioner Helena Dalli – will criminalise rape based on lack of consent, female genital mutilation (FGM) and cyber violence, including non-consensual sharing of intimate images; cyber stalking; cyber harassment; and cyber incitement to violence or hatred. The new rules also strengthen victims’ access to justice and encourage member states to implement a one-stop-shop mechanism, meaning that all support and protection services would be located in the same place.

Maria Noichl, S&D MEP and spokesperson on women’s rights, said: 

“I am very happy that today the EU Commission finally delivered on its promise to combat violence against women across the EU. After the failed EU ratification of the Istanbul Convention, the EU will now follow with its own directive, which we have been demanding for such a long time.

“I am especially glad about the fact that the directive makes clear that rape will not be tolerated and no one will stay unpunished. It will ensure that ‘no’ means ‘no’ everywhere in the EU! The legislative proposal will improve prevention measures as well as Europe-wide data collection. This is very good news for women, as well as for organisations in the EU working against violence and discrimination, as it will help their daily work and show where further measures are necessary in order to eradicate this phenomenon. The planned penalisation in cases of FGM makes clear: anyone who decides, who accompanies, stays or watches this atrocity being done is guilty and will be prosecuted! At last, cyber stalking, harassment and sharing revenge porn – a growing threat to women and girls everywhere – will no longer go unpunished! 

“However, due to the lack of legal basis in the EU in some areas, the directive is not the all-encompassing instrument that we would have wished for. The proposal can therefore only be a further step towards eradicating gender-based violence. It will not be our last one.  As progressives, we have been calling for the inclusion of gender-based violence as an area of crime under EU law. Only then can we achieve what women truly deserve – equal protection from all forms of gender-based violence across the EU. President Ursula von der Leyen has committed to criminalising all forms of gender-based violence in the European Union. We will not give up until this promise becomes a reality.”