Tackling the violence epidemic
Following the launch of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s survey on violence against women in Europe earlier this week, the EEA and Norway Grants held a seminar ‘Violence against Women – our response’ yesterday.
The EU Agency’s (FRA) report revealed the shocking scale of abuse against women in Europe. The study of 42 000 women from 28 countries records that about a third of all women in the EU have experienced physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15, one in 12 in the last year. The seminar provided a platform to highlight the important efforts of the three donor countries - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - in tackling gender-based violence head-on.
“I am pleased to see that our Grants are responding to several of the recommendations put forward in the FRA report. Our efforts are relevant, timely and above all very necessary as these shocking statistics demonstrate,” said Ambassador Ingrid Schulerud of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Some 70 representatives from 15 of the beneficiary countries of the Grants took part in the event, along with stakeholders from the donor countries and other European organisations. Discussions focused on the current situation in the light of the results of the FRA survey.
In his keynote address, Sami Nevala, Head of Sector for Statistics and Surveys in FRA said that these figures cannot and should not be ignored. He underlined the importance of the survey for all policymakers, civil society and frontline workers – the statistics reveal an extensive human rights abuse in the EU and all stakeholders need to review how we deal with violence against women.
Other speakers included Ole Kristian Hjemdal, a researcher from the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies. He elaborated on results of a recently published survey on domestic violence and rape in Norway that echoed the FRA findings and presented a similarly bleak picture.
Project adviser from the Council of Europe, Raluca Popa, highlighted the significant efforts being undertaken by the Council to combat violence against women. The Council’s Istanbul Convention - the first and only legally binding treaty on violence against women in Europe - will enter into force this summer. The Council of Europe, which sets European standards in this field, is involved in several gender-based violence programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants.
The afternoon session was dedicated to a roundtable discussion sharing results, best practice and challenges in the implementation of EEA and Norway Grants programmes on gender-based violence.
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are contributing almost €25 million to prevent and tackle violence against women and girls. The Grants support programmes and activities aiming to tackle both the causes and consequences of gender-based violence and protect victims. Programmes addressing domestic and gender-based violence have been set up in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Initiatives to tackle violence against women can also be supported under the NGO programmes in all beneficiary countries.
Click on links below for presentations
- Ingrid Schulerud, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Sami Nevala, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights
- Ole Kristian Hjemdal, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies
- Raluca Popa, Council of Europe
- Taina Riski, Council of Europe