Resolution on the need to establish a European Union wide campaign for zero tolerance of violence against women (1997)

Resolution on the need to establish a European Union wide campaign for zero tolerance of violence against women (A4-0250/1997)

The European Parliament,

2. Believes that gender-based violence not only reflects unequal gender power relations in our society, but also forms a formidable barrier to efforts to overcome inequality between women and men;

3. Stresses the importance of lifting the secrecy surrounding violence in society, and particularly the taboo on discussion of violence in the family; points out that any discussion of violence against women must take place from the women's perspective and have the aim of empowering women;

4. Urges Member States which have not already done so to make violence against women on the basis of the CEDAW definition a criminal act and to carry out a policy in line with all the obligations laid down in the Convention;

5. Urges the Member States to introduce specific legislation outside criminal law in the strict sense of the term, in order to protect victims of gender-based violence such as, for example in family law, simplified divorce proceedings, custody over children and financial compensation, and to introduce special laws against 'stalking';

6. Calls on the Commission to carry out a comparative study on the national and private social security systems or insurance schemes in the Member States where these do not offer any complete or partial protection for victims of sexual violence;

7. Calls on theMemberStatesand the Commission, in their respective policies, to pay special attention to the position of migrant women as victims of gender violence;

8. Stresses the importance of training for all those working with women victims of violence including the police, legal services, health care, housing and social services; takes the view that such training should be compulsory for judges presiding over cases of gender-based violence;

9. Is concerned that the link between domestic violence and child protection is often overlooked, and that many women therefore find themselves exposed to continuing abuse through court orders authorizing contact between a violent partner or ex-partner and his children; points out that measures to protect children in such circumstances should also protect the non-abusing parent;

10. Urges the Commission and the Member States to investigate the link between violence against women and violence against children, and the cycle of abuse perpetuated through generations to which this may lead;

11. Recalls with concern that legal procedures in many Member States often deter women from pursuing cases against their attackers; calls on the Member States to review the administration of legal procedures and take action to remove barriers which prevent women from obtaining legal protection;

12. Points out that while sexual harassment at work very often involves abuse of power by superiors, women are also subject to harassment from colleagues and clients, and are more vulnerable to harassment when they are in precarious employment or work involving travel away from the workplace;

13. Calls on the Commission and Member States to launchprogrammesfor schools aimed at enhancing awareness among boys and girls of the effects of gender- based violence and developing collaborative means of resolving conflicts in order to counteract attitudes andbehaviourwhich tend interaliato regard women's bodies as commodities and inevitably lead to violence;

14. Urges the Member States to step up their efforts against those organizations and individuals involved in trade in women, often resulting in forced prostitution, to set up specialprogrammesand to introduce specific measures to support those persons who are the victims of enforced sexual exploitation;

15. Calls for theprogrammesplanned by the Commission with the aim ofcombattingtrafficking in women for purposes of sexual exploitation andcombattingviolence against women not to be confined to campaigns to provide information about and to prevent prostitution but also to include support for projects to rehabilitate victims;

16. Urges the Member States to recognize that where violence and coercion occurs in connection with prostitution and pornography legal action must be taken against the perpetrators; urges them to take proactive measures to help and support women to escape such situations;

17. Calls on Member States to work towards achieving an efficient strategy against pornography involving children, with specific reference to its availability on the Internet;

18. Welcomes initiatives in some Member States to develop, in addition to effective sanctions,programmesfor perpetrators which result in men taking responsibility for their actions and calls for greater commitment from all Member States to adopt such initiatives;

19. Calls on the Member States to investigate urgently the role of alcohol abuse in violence against women;

20. Calls on the Member States immediately and actively to provide support and funding for independent services for the survivors of violence, including refuges and shelters; and to establish bodies to ensure inter-agency cooperation in supporting women and any dependent children in rebuilding their lives;

21. Stresses the importance of reliable, 24-hourhelplinesfree of charge or at the cost of a local telephone call as an initial source of information and support for women who feel or have felt that they are victims of violence;

22. Urges the Member States to agree on a common basis for collecting statistics on violence against women, which should include information about the woman, her attacker, the type of attack and its location, what the woman did afterwards, what action was taken by the authorities, and what the result was;

23. Recognizes however that such statistics can never represent the true levels of violence since many incidents, including psychological abuse, threats and intimidation, go completely unrecorded;

24. Calls on the Member States, in the most serious cases in which victims are unable to take action, to permit women's organizations or appropriate institutions to take legal action indefenceof the victims;

25. Considers that all cases of violence against women should be systematically recorded whether these are first reported to the police, health and the social services, refuges andhelplinesor women's organizations, and urges the Member States to produce an annual report on the trend of violence against women based on the statistics and information collected;

26. Stresses the importance of a coordinated approach to tackle the problems of violence against women at national level and therefore welcomes the steps taken in some Member States to introduce a strategy among various government departments to prevent violence and deal with the consequences;

27. Recommends firmly that local initiatives should be based on a 'multi-agency' approach involving police, local authorities and bodies as well as women's organizations and NGOs;

28. Stresses the essential role of NGOs in combating violence against women, and therefore urges Member States actively to support their development and to establish an adequate financial framework for their development;

29. Calls for funds to be earmarked in the 5th Framework ResearchProgrammefor investigation into the costs of men's violence against women in terms of health care, housing, social services and the legal system and lost days at work, and in terms of the measures needed to support children who, as research illustrates, often witness and are adversely affected by such violent incidents;

30. Urges the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs to adopt regulatory provisions on immigration and asylum applications to ensure:

thatwomen who are threatened or persecuted on grounds of sex are admitted to the EU, taking account of the recommendations of the UNHCR;

that women from third countries are not deported in the event of their separating from a violent husband unless there are other grounds for such action;

31. Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to explore the options for granting different citizenship to women who have been given a new identity because of persecution by a man;

32. Calls on the Council to secure the incorporation of provisions on women's rights in agreements between the EU and third countries and to ensure that they are complied with;

33. Calls for the designation of 1999 as a European YearAgainst Violence AgainstWomen;

34. Calls on the Commission to investigate the success of the campaigns already undertaken in various Member States with the aim of identifying and drawing on elements of 'best practice' for use in a Europe-wide campaign to be instigated during the proposed European Year Against Violence Against Women;

35. Calls on the Commission to propose a dedicated budget line for the European Year and Europe-wide campaign to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to allow for a high-profile campaign involving the Member States' governments, agencies, women's organizations and other NGOs;

36. Stresses that such a Europe-wide campaign should be based on 'best practice', and on the importance of women's organizations in the development of such campaigns, and the need for a flexible campaign to allow local, regional and national variations on the central theme;

37. Calls for the campaign to include high-profile positive imagery, messages and advertising which portrays women as survivors of violence rather than victims;

38. Calls for the campaign to promote thedefenceof survivors of abuse, the prevention of violence and the treatment of the perpetrators, using high- profile publicity to emphasize that violence against women affects all citizens of the Union, in particular children exposed to a violent domestic environment;

39. Calls for such a campaign to seek to alter attitudes in society so that zero tolerance of violence against women is achieved at individual, collective and institutional level;

40. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and governments of the Member States.