Violence Against Women Active Officially Adopted by EU Council

Today, the Council of the EU officially adopted the EU Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. La Strada International jointly with other civil society organisations, welcomes this first ever binding EU legislation on this issue as a groundbreaking step. The Directive adopts a holistic approach to combat violence against women and domestic violence, incorporating measures relating to prevention, protection, support for victims, access to justice and prosecution of perpetrators.

We are very happy to see that the directive recognises the perpetration of female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and certain forms of online violence as crimes. However, other forms of violence were unfortunately not criminalised, such as intersex genital mutilation and forced sterilisation. We deeply regret that some of the Member Stated did block the unprecedented opportunity to criminalise rape with a consent-based definition at the EU level. Sexual violence against women is endemic across the EU, with widespread impunity. Consent-based definitions of rape allow for all cases of rape to be included and strengthen protection and access to justice for victims of rape. We continue to call on all Member States who have not yet done so, to move towards adopting consent-based laws. See the full joint statement here.