Political Agreement on Violence Against Women Directive

Yesterday, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached an agreement on the new EU Directive on violence against women directive and domestic violence. While we are happy with the EU’s commitment and the agreement reached, La Strada International regrets that the agreed text is unfortunately much weaker in many points than what we had hoped for.

The directive excludes a consent-based definition of rape and priortises migration control over women’s rights and needs. It only sets minimal standards and dismisses important measures such as the obligation to ensure safe reporting mechanisms for undocumented women.

In the initial European Commission’s proposal and supported by the Parliament, there was article 16(5) which would have ensured that no personal data about victims of abuse, including residence status, would be shared by police with immigration authorities.

On a more positive note, the deal ensures through Article 35(3) that support services shall be available for third-country nationals who are victims of violence against women and domestic violence. While the agreement doesn’t include explicit language on undocumented women, negotiators included reference to the non-discrimination principle of the Victim Rights Directive which ensures victim rights cannot be denied based on residence status.

La Strada International and many other civil society organisations urged the negotiators to implement recommendations to strengthen the protection. See our earlier joint statement with our demands.

See also statements on the VAW Directive by PICUM, WAVE, Amnesty International, IPPF European Network and the Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Community – EL*C