Violence against women: Council and European Parliament reach deal on EU law

The Belgian presidency and European Parliament agreed on a first-ever EU law on violence against women and domestic violence. The new law lays down minimum rules concerning the definition of specific criminal offences and penalties to address this form of violence. It also sets out rights of victims of all forms of violence against women or domestic violence, and provides for their protection.

The new law would criminalise the following offences across the EU:

  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • non-consensual sharing of intimate images
  • cyber stalking
  • cyber harassment
  • cyber incitement to hatred or violence

Once adopted, the new law will set common rules on the definition of those offences and related penalties.

The directive will also introduce aggravating circumstances such as the repeated exercise of violence against women, committing an act of violence against a vulnerable person or a child and using extreme levels of violence.

The new law will also make it easier for victims of these crimes to access justice and obliges member states to provide an appropriate level of specialised protection and support.

The directive also foresees that victims will have the right to claim full compensation from offenders for damages resulting from the offence of violence against women or domestic violence. Victims should also be able to obtain compensation in the context of criminal proceedings where appropriate.

According to today’s agreement, specialised support services, such as rape crisis centres, must be available to victims to offer advice and support, provide information about access to legal counselling, and provide help into finding shelters and medical care.

Member states must furthermore make a national telephone helpline available that victims of violence can reach 24/7, free of charge.

Source: Council of the EU

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.