On Thursday 16 September 2021 the Members of the European Parliament adopted by 427 votes in favour, 119 against, and 140 abstentions, a legislative initiative demanding targeted legislation and policies to address all forms of violence and discrimination based on gender (against women and girls, but also against LGBTIQ+ persons), whether online or offline. They call on the Commission to list gender-based violence as a new area of crime under Article 83(1) TFEU, alongside other crimes that need to be combatted on a common basis, such as human, drug, and arms trafficking, computer crime and terrorism.
This would serve as a legal basis for a victim-centred EU Directive using the standards of the Istanbul Convention and other international standards, and should notably include:
-prevention measures, including via gender-sensitive and intersectional education programming;
-support services, protection and reparation measures for victims;
-measures to end all forms of gender-based violence, including violence against LGBTIQ+ persons;
-minimum standards for law enforcement;
-provisions to ensure that incidents of gender-based violence are taken into account when determining child custody and visitation rights; and
-cooperation among member states and the exchange of best practices, information and expertise.
The Members of the European Parliament also denounce femicide as the most extreme form of gender-based violence against women and girls, and highlight that denying safe and legal abortion care is also a form of gender-based violence. They point to the many adverse personal, social and economic effects of gender-based violence, and reiterate that the situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic. They also refer to survivors’ lack of trust in law enforcement authorities and the judicial system as a significant factor that contributes to incidents being underreported.
As DATAWO, we welcome this initiative of the Members of the European Parliament and we will keep a close eye to the legislative process started.