Violence against women – our response

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With the celebration of the International Women’s Day around the corner, we take the opportunity to focus on violence against women in Europe – a violation of fundamental human rights which cuts across all levels of society.

The European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presented the biggest survey ever conducted on violence against women earlier this week. It shows that an estimated 13 million women in the EU have experienced physical violence within the previous year, while some 3.7 million women had experienced sexual violence.

In recent years, the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union have all taken steps to address violence against women. Norway supports these efforts. In Europe alone, we contribute close to €25 million through the EEA and Norway Grants.

Combating domestic and gender-based violence is included as a specific area of support in almost all the 15 beneficiary countries in Central and Southern Europe.

Our programmes focus on supporting projects tackling the causes and deal with the consequences of violence against women. In addition, we support efforts to raise awareness about the issue so that women are not afraid to report their experiences of violence and so that perpetrators are confronted.

Some examples:

  • Czech Republic: various services for victims are established, such as telephone hotlines and crises and advice centres.
  • Slovakia: 15 new counselling centres will open, as well as more than 200 new places in women’s shelters.
  • Romania: existing shelters are receiving support to improve their services. Around 250 professionals working in fields related to domestic and gender-based violence receive training.
  • Lithuania: training of 500 police officers to better handling cases of violence against women

Working in partnership We are cooperating closely with the Council of Europe (CoE) which is involved in several programmes. Its Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence provides valuable recommendations, guidance and direction. Other partners include the Norwegian Police, Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Secretariat of the Shelter Movement.

Recently, we have also entered into partnership with FRA, with a view to gather forces on human rights, including domestic and gender-based violence.

As a follow-up of the FRA study, we gathered our programme operators, donor partners and European stakeholders in Brussels this week to discuss how the survey findings and recommendations can be translated into concrete actions.

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