Tackling gender-based violence and promoting gender equality
Tackling domestic and gender based violence and promoting gender equality are key priorities for the Grants. In the current funding period, €50 million has been set aside for various gender measures.
In recent years, there has been increased international attention on problems related to domestic and gender-based violence. The Council of Europe has adopted a new Convention that obliges EU member states to tougher their legislation on such offenses. Under the Norway Grants, programmes will be established to prevent and tackle domestic and gender-based violence and to support victims of human trafficking in a number of countries.
An estimated one-fifth to one-quarter of all women in Europe have experienced physical violence at least once during their adult lives, often alongside years of emotional abuse. More than one-tenth have suffered sexual violence involving the use of force. Eradicating such violence is a challenge for all European countries. Although pervasive, it is still largely invisible. Sustained by a culture of silence and shame, it is rarely reported.
Combating domestic and gender-based violence is included as a specific area of support under the Norway Grants in almost all beneficiary states for the funding period 2009-2014. Funding has been substantially stepped up with €20 million set aside from 2009 and 2014.
Funding will support initiatives tackling both the causes and consequences of violence. In Slovakia, the Grants will increase the capacity of women’s shelters, as well as crisis and counselling centres. Support will also be used for training and awareness-raising campaigns, establishing specialised services and improving coordination within the existing social services network. In Bulgaria, efforts will focus on improving police services for victims of domestic violence. In Cyprus, where there are currently very few services for victims of gender-based violence, the Grants will support the construction of a new shelter for victims.
The Norwegian Police Directorate, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the Norwegian Secretariat for the Shelter Movement and the Council of Europe are involved as partners in the programmes dealing with domestic and gender-based violence.
In addition, various programmes promoting gender equality also receive support from the EEA and Norway Grants. Mainstreaming gender equality and promoting work life-balance are important areas of support in this regard. This funding supports activities to promote awareness-raising, improve the gender balance on corporate boards and reduce pay gaps. Programmes within this field are being set up in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.