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Women of Europe Newsletter No 92
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Special issue: Domestic violence against women

Editorial

The European campaign against violence is taking shape in different ways in the various organisations and Member States involved. But what matters is that it is ongoing and that the Commission's support has not been given in vain. Initiatives are still under way and they will go on for as long as it takes, as we are determined to eradicate this outrage. This special issue is devoted entirely to the campaign. It aims to provide an overview of its diverse measures, viewpoints and events. If certain measures are not reported here, it's just because we haven't received the relevant information.

What's your opinion, Colette de Troy?

The European Women's Lobby (EWL) has recently issued its study "Unveiling the hidden data on domestic violence in the EU". It has also been coordinating the "Violence-Free-Cities" project and is pursuing its long-term lobby activities, in particular via an observatory which cooperates in elaborating the recommendations it makes to the institutions. Colette de Troy is the EWL coordinator. Located in Brussels, the organisation represents some 3000 associations.

Seven cities against violence: the launch of an ideal

The "violence-free-cities" campaign was launched by the European Women's Lobby as part of the European campaign against domestic violence against women. It was conducted with great effect from 25 November, the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, throughout the following 16 days of action against violence. Details of these events can be found on the EWL website, a source of ideas, contacts and arguments – material which could inspire similar initiatives in other towns at other times. All in all, momentum has been imparted and will probably not be lost for some time.

Observatory

The European Policy Action Centre on violence against Women has set up a Observatory on Violence to help it in formulating recommendations to the European institutions and the Member States. It is composed of a group of national experts, field workers and researchers, who are also responsible for "monitoring" how the Member States' undertakings are actually carried through.


Zero Tolerance Campaign

Domestic violence is to be found (and is even common) in all Member States of the European Union and all classes of society. Is it acceptable? In order to work towards adoption of a "zero tolerance" attitude and help to change mentalities, the European Commission launched a campaign against domestic violence against women. The European Commission is making available to interested parties a CD-ROM which can be used to reproduce posters, stickers and logos. The texts were all drafted in English, but the translations into the other ten EU languages can easily be used by a professional designer or printer or slightly modified providing that the meaning and spirit of the campaign are retained.

Contact in the Information for Women Section: Fax: +32.2.299 38 91.
European Parliament

Committee on Women's Rights

At its meeting on 14 December, the Committee on Women's Rights adopted conclusions on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, calling for incorporation into the Charter of a general anti-sex discrimination clause which could be invoked before the European Court of Justice by individual citizens/residents. It also discussed three Communications: on employment and anti-discrimination measures (EQUAL Initiative), sustainable urban development, and economic and social regeneration of cities and neighbourhoods in crisis (URBAN), and strategies for modernising social protection.

Wave, an NGO network against violence

Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) is a network of non-governmental organisations which aims to combat violence against women and children in both public and private life. http://www.wave-network.org

Spain: plan to eradicate violence

In February 1998 the regional government of Andalusia signed an agreement on "Government action plans on progress in eradicating violence against women". It was in that context that the Andalusian Women's Institute, responsible for coordinating the measures, organised a forum on violence on 11 and 12 November 1999 in Seville; it was attended by professionals from the sectors and social services concerned.

Greece: Advisory centre against violence

On 29 November, Ms Vasso Papandreou, Greek Minister for Internal Affairs, inaugurated in Piraeus an advisory centre focusing on violence against women. The centre will provide psychological and social assistance to women who have experienced violence and also legal advice and information on social services available. Contacts: (30) 1-523 52 50 /523 53 18 /411 20 91 / 412 91 01

Conferences

Jyväskylä: Need for government mobilisation

What would happen if, some morning, the newspapers reported that, in one year, a disease would affect a fifth of the EU population? "The governments would react straight away, introducing effective programmes and allocating funds to combat the disease". Ms Maj Britt Theorin held this rousing speech against violence at a seminar held on the subject on 9 November in Jyväskylä, Finland. Organised at the initiative of the Finnish Council Presidency, the seminar assembled numerous European experts and political leaders.

Outlawing violence

How to outlaw violence? A meeting was organised in Paris on 6 December at the initiative of CNIDFF (National Information and Documentation Centre for Women and Families) where the French, Spanish and Italian participants attempted to answer this question. Forum on domestic violence: http://www.infofemmes.com

Council of Europe: Seminar in Bari

The Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held a seminar from 4 to 6 November in Bari in conjunction with the Italian Parliament. A number of scientific findings were used as backing for the four topics covered at the seminar: domestic and sexual abuse, slavery and forced labour in the home, trafficking in women and prostitution, and rape in armed conflict. Recommendations on these subjects were submitted to the Member States.

Lisbon: Closing conference of the European campaign against violence

The Portuguese Council Presidency is organising on 4, 5 and 6 May next the closing conference of the European campaign against violence against women.
Contact: Comissão para a Igualdade e para os Direitos das Mulheres, fax : +351.1.798 30 98

Nicosia: International conference

Cyprus is also taking part in the zero tolerance campaign for the prevention of domestic violence by organising a conference on the subject in November 2000; one speaker per Member State will be taking part. Anyone interested should contact Mary Pyrgos, project coordinator. Contact: (357) 2-774157

Beijing + 5: Alternative national reports

The commitments made in Beijing in 1955 will be assessed at an international meeting to be held in June 2000 in New York. WomenAction, a federation of non-governmental associations and organisations, has recently set up regional Internet sites, including a European site. Its aim is to take stock, country by country, on the progress achieved on the 12 critical areas which the countries defined in Beijing. With the agreement of the United Nations, WomenAction is proposing that the NGOs should prepare alternatives to the official reports.
http://www.iiav.nl/european-womenaction-2000/

Publications Breaking the silence As part of the Commission's campaign against violence, messages addressed to a number of target groups have been devised, formulated and translated. A European history of the fight against this scourge and European statistics are also to be found in the brochure "Breaking the silence" recently published at the initiative of the European Commission's Information for Women Section. It can be obtained from all outlying offices. Domestic violence against women: European opinion This document gives an overview of the main results of the opinion survey carried out by the European Commission in all the Member States between March and May 1999. These two documents are available at this site: http://europa.eu.int/  or on request from the Section: Fax: +32.2.299 38 91.

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