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Justice and protection for women as victims of domestic violence

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November should serve as a reminder to do more to secure the immediate protection and access to justice of women who are victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence against women – physical, sexual or psychological – remains a pressing human rights issue in the EU and its Member States.

It leaves its victims with traumatic physical and mental scars. It also violates their fundamental rights as equality, dignity and access to protection and justice are challenged.

FRA wanted to assess how victims are being supported and how their rights are being respected. To find out, it carried out research in seven EU Member States. It mapped how police forces and specialist support services respond when women report abuse. 

This meant interviewing staff of victim support organisations, lawyers advising victims, police officers, prosecutors and criminal judges. FRA also interviewed over 80 adult victims of violent crime to capture their views.

The preliminary findings show a pressing need to protect women against repeated victimisation and abuse.

They also show a need for the EU and the Member States that still haven’t done so to ratify the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

They also underline the urgency of having swift protection measures and immediate access to justice for women to tackle abuse.  

To mark this International Day, let the EU and its Member States step up their efforts to protect the fundamental rights of all those who suffer from domestic violence and abuse across the EU.