In March 2022, the European Commission published a landmark proposal for a law addressing violence against women.
The text of the Directive on Combating violence against women and domestic violence proposes to fill significant legislative gaps on violence against women and girls across the European Union (EU), especially on the legal definition of rape, the recognition of female genital mutilation as a criminal offence and the prosecution of key forms of online violence. It also seeks to harmonise penalties, limitation periods for the prosecution and decision on the covered forms of violence, and access to justice and support services for women and girls throughout the EU.
The proposal recognises the rights and needs of women and girls with disabilities with 14 references in several areas of the proposal, including in assessing victims’ needs, accessibility requirements for helplines, and aggravating circumstances for violence against women with disabilities, including in institutions.
However, many gaps remain. This is why EDF published a proposal of amendments to improve the text of the Directive and the rights of women and girls with disabilities.
- The Directive must introduce criminalise forced sterilisation in the European Union. Forced sterilisation is prohibited under international Conventions. Yet, at least 14 EU Member States still allow some forms of forced sterilisation in their legislation. EDF proposes the inclusion of a specific article prohibiting forced sterilisation.
- Accessibility, adequate support and training of professionals are key in ensuring access to justice and support services for women and girls victims of violence against women and domestic violence. The Directive must strengthen the existing framework established by the Victims’ Rights Directive and require accessibility of shelters and other interim accommodations. States must provide training related to disability-related needs and rights to professionals.
- Data and research are needed to identify the root causes of violence and prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. There is a lack of comparable data on violence against women and girls with disabilities in the EU. The Directive should require EU Member States to disaggregate data by disability to inform on the specific situation of marginalised groups.
Read EDF amendments below:
- EDF amendment proposed directive on combating violence against women (PDF document)
- EDF Amendment proposed directive on combating violence against women (Word document)
Act to end forced sterilisation. Join us and sign our petition!
Sterilisation of women with disabilities without their knowledge or consent is a widespread form of violence. Such harmful and terrible practices still takes place, in silence and with impunity. We must ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy dignified lives free from violence and abuse. The petition is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Sign Language and Spanish. More languages will be available soon.
Please sign our petition and spread the word in your network
Do you want to support your advocacy? Have questions on the issues?
Please contact Marine Uldry, EDF Senior Human Rights Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).