On the World Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we are calling on the European Union (EU) and its countries to protect all women and girls with disabilities from violence and abuse, including forced sterilization by ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
- Violence against women threatens the security of half of the population in the EU, affecting over 250 million women and girls, having life-long implications for their physical and mental health.
- Women with disabilities are 2 to 5 times more likely to be victims of violence than women without disabilities and are subjected to forced sterilisation and abortions against their will. Those with psychosocial disabilities are at higher risk, especially when they are segregated in institutions.
- Accessing justice and support and protection services is often impossible due to lack of access, legal and other types of barriers. For example, women and girls with disabilities may live in institutions, deprived of their legal capacity, or the available services may not be accessible to them.
- Police stations and victim shelters are often not accessible for women with reduced mobility
- Sign language interpretation not provided for hard of hearing, deaf or deaf-blind women
- General information not available in braille and Easy to Read formats.
- Implementation of the Istanbul Convention will benefit women’s lives in Europe, including women and girls with disabilities and will demonstrate the EU’s strong commitment to end violence against all women and girls who deserve to live a life free from all forms of violence.
- Ratification will contribute to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which the EU and all EU countries are parties to, as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which all EU States have ratified.
EDF and our Women’s Committee have joined forces with the European Women’s Lobby and other women’s rights organisations under the Coalition on Ending Violence against Women and Girls. The Coalition’s factsheet contains relevant information for advocating for the EU’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention at national and EU level. The Coalition also launched the “Rise Up Against Violence” petition