Violence Against Women

Violence Against Women in Europe

Punishment or Prevention? Towards a More Strategic Approach to Eliminating Violence Against Women in Europe

DAVID GADD, from the MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY, CENTRE FOR CRIMINOLOGY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE, SCHOOL OF LAW, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Criminological Theory, Research and Education,” under the title “Punishment or Prevention? Towards a More Strategic Approach to Eliminating Violence Against Women in Europe”. Here is the abstract: The last decade saw a proliferation of European initiatives aimed at eliminating violence against women. These have focussed on the creation of legislation that either extends the remit of criminal law into civil dimensions or strengthens the powers of criminal justice agents dealing with the aftermath of domestic abuse incidents. Amidst this legislative reform, addressed, as it tends to be, to dealing with persistent adult offenders and the most victimized of women, the high prevalence of domestic violence among young people has been overlooked and the importance of preventative education as possibly the only realistic means of reducing violence against women over the longer term has not been realized. In this paper we redress this lacuna by extracting lessons from the EU DAPHNE III funded REaDAPt Project. The REaDAPt Project has involved the evaluation of school based relationship education and domestic abuse prevention programmes in the UK, Spain and France and the implementation of a new package of intervention in Malta. The paper provides an update on these developments and recommendations for those looking to develop preventative domestic abuse education.

European Paradoxes. A Regional Perspective on Legal Developments in Violence Against Women as a Crime or a Human Rights Violation

Prof. Dr. RenĂ©e G. Römkens, from the National Institute on Gender Equality and Women's History. of Interpersonal Violence, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Plenary Speakers,” under the title “European Paradoxes. A Regional Perspective on Legal Developments in Violence Against Women as a Crime or a Human Rights Violation”. Here is the abstract: Within Europe, the problem of gender based violence (GBV), notably as manifested in violence against women (VAW) is slowly but steadily gaining political and legal prominence. From a criminological perspective the topic of VAW reflects interesting legislative developments . Traditionally the legislative response to any form of violence is criminalization. In the face of the limitations of a criminal legal response when it comes to addressing victims' needs, new multidisciplinary legislative responses to VAW are developing. On a transnational European level a human rights framework is gaining prominence, calling for an integrated legal response. In the two relevant political-legal European arenas – the European Union and the Council of Europe – VAW as a human rights concern is rising on the social-political ands legislative agenda. Recent case law from the European Courts of Human Rights represents significant developments in interpreting and identifying States 'due diligence' obligations to protect women against gender based violence. Overall however, both on an national and transnational EU level developments are still fragmented and contradictory at times. This paper aims to present an overview of the most important current developments . The central questions to which extent do European regional developments actually reflect an understanding of VAW that goes beyond violence as a criminal concern and positions it is a human rights concern that implies a violation of fundamental rights and freedoms of women as codified in international binding legal instruments.

More about the Paper

The first part presents a concise comparative overview of the current situation regarding legislation of forms of VAW on a national level in the 27 EU Member States, based on an extensive 2010 EUwide study. The results reveal a rather fragmented picture across the EU where criminal legal response towards VAW tends to dominate yet is not very effective for victims. The need for an integrated multi-disciplinary response is becoming increasingly urgent. This is reflected in the call to develop an integrated human rights based approach, as articulated repeatedly by the UN Secretary General.. The second part reflects on what this means for the European Commission who wishes to further a human rights perspective on VAW and has explored the options for harmonization in the Member States' approach towards VAW. Results indicate that the EC has a rather limited competence to achieve harmonization across EU Member States and is actually turning more ambiguous in its initial efforts to position VAW as a human rights violation. Current developments show that the EC seems to gravitate towards traditional criminal law on a national level as the prime focus in its regulatory approach towards VAW as a domain of policy and legislation. In the final part we will reflect on current developments within the Council of Europe to launch a coherent human rights and gender based approaches to VAW through its 2011 Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (aka the 'Istanbul Convention'). As of July 2012 the CoE Convention has been signed by twenty States and ratified by one (Turkey). The Convention requires ten ratifications before entering into force. At that point the Convention will be the first European and international binding document to address VAW as a human rights violation and form of discrimination. The instrument defines in detail the range of integrated legal and other measures which States are required to take in order to meet their obligations with 'due diligence'. In that respect the Convention would be the first international binding instrument which takes the identification of State obligations a crucial step going beyond the traditional criminal legal response and move towards realizing an integrated so-called three P approach to VAW: prevention, protection and prosecution. However, it has to be noted that the title and scope of the Convention sets domestic violence apart from violence against women, explicitly conceptualizing male victimization of domestic (partner) violence as a State concern. In our discussion we will revisit the question what the ongoing legal-political debates and ambiguities regarding the gendered nature of violence mean? Mores specifically: to which extent do these developments in Europe affect the feasibility of getting beyond a traditional yet limited criminal legal response violence against women and acknowledging it as a human rights violation?

Resources

See Also

Further Reading

  • “European Paradoxes. A Regional Perspective on Legal Developments in Violence Against Women as a Crime or a Human Rights Violation”, by Prof. Dr. RenĂ©e G. Römkens (Proceedings)

Resources

See Also

Further Reading

  • “Punishment or Prevention? Towards a More Strategic Approach to Eliminating Violence Against Women in Europe”, by DAVID GADD (Proceedings)

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