FEMM and LIBE committees approves first EU legal document addressing gender-based violence
Today, Members of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees adopted the European Parliament's position on the Directive for combating violence against women and domestic violence. This is a historic step for the European Union as this directive will constitute the first legislative document of the Union for addressing gender-based violence. The Greens/EFA and feminists across Europe have long pushed for such a directive.
Diana Riba i Giner MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the violence against women and domestic violence directive in the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee, comments:
“Today is a historic day for feminists and the fight for gender equality across Europe. Finally, the EU is taking big steps towards the first ever legislative document combating gender-based violence on EU level. It is especially welcome that the committee position includes criminalization of sex without consent, forced sterilization and forced marriage.
“The Greens/EFA Group has pushed for the Parliament position to be as inclusive as possible as gender-based violence affects women disproportionately. LBTIQ women, women with disabilities, racialized women, migrant and undocumented women and young women and girls, among others face a higher risk of being victims of gender-based violence. It’s welcome that the Parliament is clear: An intersectional approach to address gender-based violence is necessary and groups at specific risk must be regarded with special attention.“
Dr. Sylwia Spurek MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the on the Gender-based Violence Directive in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, comments:
“As the world moves online, forms of violence that already affect women and girls disproportionately are taking different dimensions. Cyberviolence makes women reluctant to engage in public activities, including online activities, it affects their health and private life.
“Yes, this is also about democracy. By cyberviolence women - politicians, activists, business women are silenced. The proposed directive is taking measures in order to protect women online. It is a big victory that non-consensual sharing of intimate or manipulated material, cyber stalking, cyber harassment, and cyber incitement to violence or hatred is proposed to be criminalized across the EU. By implementing this directive, we can establish a unified system of fighting gender-based cyberviolence across the European Union.”
The Members of the European Parliament will adopt its position during the July plenary session which will be followed by months of negotiations with the Commission and the EU Council to find a compromise on the final text.
The text negotiated at committee level includes sexual assault, intersex genital mutilation, forced sterilization, forced marriage and harassment in the world of work as additional criminal offences. It also provides strengthened protection, preventive and support measures, including specialist support for victims of cyber violence, as well as the establishment of National Action Plans for the elimination of gender-based violence. The text also takes into account intersectional discrimination.
The Directive, together with the Istanbul Convention, ratified by the European Union on the 1st of June 2023, will form a longed-for legal framework protecting people and preventing gender-based violence.