Rise in violence against women shows need for stronger directive

New figures revealing a sharp rise in domestic abuse, including rape, show the need for a stronger directive on combating violence against women. 

The 8.5% increase in attacks in Germany was reported ahead of the start of inter-institutional negotiations over the final text of the directive tomorrow. Separate EU-wide data shows that one in three women in the EU has experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.

Many Member states, including Germany and France, have called for the criminalisation of rape to be removed from the directive on combating violence against women, falsely claiming there is no legal basis for the EU to act.  

The ETUC called on all national governments to set out the clear legal basis for the inclusion of rape in the proposed directive and urge them to agree the strongest possible directive in negotiations with the European Parliament and European Commission. 

And the European Parliament today adopted a strong mandate, including stronger rules on sexual harassment at work and a firm stand on criminalizing rape based on lack of consent.

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Isabelle Schömann said: 

“Strong words alone won’t stop the rise in violence against women, at home or in the workplace. We need politicians to ensure that their rhetoric is matched by practical action that will keep women safe and bring perpetrators to justice.

“The increase in violence against women revealed this week are a tragic reminder to the politicians in Europe about what is at stake in these negotiations. 

“Member states need to stop hiding behind false legal arguments to justify inaction. Member States need to take their responsibility in keeping women safe and bringing perpetrators to justice. 

“The new figures are a wake-up call to all politicians about the scale of action required. Europe must deliver and be a safer place for women and girls.”