On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Socialists and Democrats call on member states to prove with acts, and not just words, that they are on the side of women, by far the most often affected by domestic and sexual violence. One in three women in Europe has been a victim of physical and/or sexual violence while only 11% of these incidents have been reported. 

Maria Noichl, S&D coordinator in the committee on women's rights and gender equality, said:

“Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we remember the women who have been murdered by partners, ex-partners or family members. Shot. Stabbed. Strangled. Run over. Thrown out the window. Burned. As of mid-November 2019, 134 women have been killed in France. Numbers in Germany show that every third day, a woman is killed by her (ex-)partner. And since Spain started officially counting in 2003, already more than 1000 women have been killed by sexist violence. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as being a victim of homicide is only the last and ultimate form of violence against women.

“We can only support and protect women if we prevent this violence by having a zero-tolerance policy. That is why we urgently need to adopt a European Strategy to prevent and fight violence against women, and to recognise violence against women and girls as a serious crime in the Treaty’s catalogue of crimes with a cross-border dimension. This is necessary in order to have the legal basis to draft an EU Directive on preventing and combating violence, allowing us to hold member states accountable. Women need to be protected equally across the EU.”

Sylwia Spurek, S&D MEP and European Parliament co-rapporteur on the Istanbul Convention, added: 

“It is high time for the EU to ratify the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Women are most often the victims of domestic and sexual violence. Nevertheless, they still do not receive sufficient help, their testimonies are contested, and perpetrators’ actions are explained away. We need to say that we are on the side of women – demonstrating our belief that it is always the perpetrator that is to blame, and never the victim.

“The ratification of the Istanbul Convention is a must, but for the EU to adopt it, all its member states must also accede. That is why we are calling on all remaining countries that are yet to ratify the Istanbul Convention to do so immediately. Women can't wait.”

Note to editors:

At the initiative of the S&Ds, the Parliament will hold the debate later today in which we will call on:

* All member states and the EU as a whole to accede and implement the Istanbul Convention, the legal instrument to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. 

* The Council to recognise violence against women in the Treaty's catalogue of crimes under Article 83 TFUE.

* The European Commission to come up with a comprehensive EU Strategy to prevent and fight gender-based violence, including a legislative act tackling online harassment and cyber violence.

*The member states to provide accurate and comparable data to Eurostat in order to develop effective policies and awareness-raising campaigns.


MEPs involved




S&D press contact

Czerny-grimm Inga


Press Officer

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