Today, Monday 10th of May, is the last day to participate in a consultation of the European Commission on gender based and domestic violence.
On this occasion, EDF is publishing a position paper on violence against women and girls with disabilities, and call on the European Union to urgently adopt measures to prevent, prohibit and condemn violence against women and girls in all their diversity.
Women and girls with disabilities continue to face multiple and intersectional discrimination in all areas of life, and are more at risk to face violence, abuses and harmful practices. Violence may take place in various settings (including in institutions and segregated schools) and take different forms, including harassment and sexual violence, but also forced abortion and sterilisation, and disability specific violence.
Not only they face violence at a higher rate than women without disabilities, they also face additional barriers in reporting, accessing justice, and have access to victims’ rights support measures and protection orders.
We call on the European Union to:
- Swiftly ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).
- Add gender-based violence to the list of EU crimes.
- Adopt an EU Directive criminalising all forms of male violence against women and girls (including forced sterilisation), and providing assistance and support to all women and girls victims.
- Set up a coordinating body to end violence against women and girls, under the umbrella of the European Commission’s work on equality between women and men, and ensure it contains a department specifically related to violence against women and girls with disabilities.
- Ensuring that gender-based violence is addressed within relevant EU policies and strategies (education, humanitarian aid, digital agenda, etc.). All actions should be part of a comprehensive EU Strategy to end violence against women and girls, including prevention, awareness-raising, and part of the implementation of EU Victims’ Rights Directive and Strategy, Disability Rights Strategy and Gender Equality Strategy.
- Collect data and conducting research on the root causes, prevalence, consequences and costs of gender based and domestic violence. Data and research should be disaggregated to inform on the specific situation of marginalised groups, including women and girls with disabilities and mothers and other women caring for relatives with disabilities, in various settings such as in institutions, schools and workplace, and in relation to trafficking. Experts with specific expertise on disability and the link between disability, gender and violence should participate to data collection and research.
- Finance and promote training and capacity building of professionals in EU Member States, such as support service providers, healthcare and criminal justice professionals (including providers of services for victims’, doctors, midwives, police officers, judges). All professionals should be trained on violence against women and girls, in particular those working with marginalised groups of women such as women and girls with disabilities, including those living in institutions.
- Finance and promote emotional and sexuality education in EU Member States, including through project funding. This should be offered to young people with disabilities living in and outside institutions, and include information on respect to others and capacity of saying no, involving organisations of women with disabilities and women’s groups.
- EDF Position Paper on Violence against women and girls with disabilities in the European Union (May 2021) in Word
- EDF Position Paper on Violence against women and girls with disabilities in the European Union (May 2021) in PDF
- EDF Position paper on Sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls with disabilities (March 2019)
- EDF Report on ending forced sterilisation against women and girls with disabilities (May 2017)
EDF Human Rights Officer