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Frances Fitzgerald leads on first ever EU legislation on Violence Against Women

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP


Wednesday 28th June 2023


Frances Fitzgerald leads on first ever EU legislation on Violence Against Women


European Parliament’s Gender Equality Committee votes to support draft new law

The directive also includes common definitions and minimum sentences for the crime of rape across Europe

Today (28th June), the European Parliament’s Committee on Gender Equality and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs voted to support a proposed new EU law on combatting violence against women which was negotiated by Frances Fitzgerald, MEP for Dublin, as Rapporteur alongside Swedish MEP Evin Incir. This would be the first EU legislation of its kind in this area.

Based on widespread consultation, the Directive will comprise five key elements: setting the same minimum standards for crimes; safe reporting and risk assessment procedures; respect for victims’ privacy in judicial proceedings and right to compensation; support for victims through helplines and crisis centres; and better coordination and cooperation between member states on cross border crimes.

The text agreed by Frances Fitzgerald also includes common definitions and minimum sentences for the crime of rape across Europe for the first time ever. Following today’s successful Committee votes, the proposed law will go before a vote of the full European Parliament in July.

Speaking before the vote, Frances Fitzgerald said, “When it comes to violence against women, the statistics are stark. In France over 100 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners in 2022. In Spain, the number of female victims of gender violence has increased by nearly 18% in early months of 2023. In Ireland, statistics from Women’s Aid show that 2022 was the worst year in a decade for femicide with 11 women killed in violent circumstances over those 12 months.

“This is why I am proposing this robust new legislation, as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator for the first ever EU law on Combatting Violence Against Women. It is a simple and overdue proposition, that violence is violence, and violence against women in one European country should be treated as violence against women and punished the same way in all European countries. Common sentencing standards would also demonstrate the EU Member States’ commitment to ending what is, essentially, a geographical lottery with women’s lives as the gambling chips.

“One area this should be included in this new Directive is rape. We need common definitions and minimum sentences across Europe. Rape should be defined and punished with the same seriousness in every member state. Unfortunately, several member states have already indicated that they do not want rape included in EU legislation. This position needs to change, and I will be pushing for this alongside my colleagues in the European Parliament.

“Every 10 years the equivalent of a city the size of Marseille, Amsterdam or Zagreb disappears from the world. It is estimated that 87,000 women worldwide are being killed each year just because they are women. We have a strong mandate from the Parliament to negotiate with the member states to ensure a strong directive”

ENDS


Contact: Michael Ward




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