Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP
Friday 14th October 2022
Frances Fitzgerald MEP hosts consultation with Irish women’s rights campaigners on new EU violence against women law
Dublin MEP Frances Fitzgerald is today hosting a consultation with prominent groups working in the area of women's rights and family law on the first ever EU law on violence against women. MEP Fitzgerald is the lead negotiator for the European Parliament on the drafting of the new law.
The consultation, which is being held in the European Parliament Liaison Office in Dublin, will bring together over thirty groups and individuals to share views and experiences that will feed into the drafting of the upcoming EU Directive on violence against women.
The groups in attendance include the National Women's Council of Ireland, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, LGBT Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, the National Youth Council, IBEC, ISME, ICTU, the Children Rights Alliance, the Law Society of Ireland, and the Irish Red Cross.
Frances Fitzgerald MEP said, “Today’s consultation is a vital opportunity for people to share their own views and experiences and to ensure that we can draft the most effective new directive possible to tackle violence against women. Violence against women is a scourge in our society and one that must be fully recognised as such in every member state. It causes trauma, anguish, and can affect the lives of its victims for many years afterwards. It is important that every member state treat these offences with the same level of seriousness. This is why sentencing in each member state should work off the same guidance. Violence against women is no less repulsive depending on what country it takes place in.
“I am delighted to have been selected as the rapporteur or chief negotiator for the European Parliament in relation to this new law. As this directive will fall under the scope of Article 83(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, it will ensure that the offences it lays out will be a crime everywhere in the European Union, and punishable to the same standards. There should be no havens of impunity for offenders of violence against women in the European Union.
“The Directive comprises five key elements:
1. Criminalisation of rape, female genital mutilation, and cyber violence
2. Safe reporting and risk assessment procedures
3. Respect for victims privacy in judicial proceedings and right to compensation
4. Support for victims through helplines and rape crisis centres
5. Better coordination and cooperation
“I will be working closely with all my colleagues to ensure that we produce a directive that is robust, overarching, effective, and ambitious. By adopting common sentencing standards, we will demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the safety and freedom of women in Ireland and across Europe.”