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Violence against women: Governments fail to protect


 - Violence against women: Governments fail to protect
© UN Photo/Martine Perret
The staggering majority of all women participating in the survey think governments are not doing enough against violence towards women.

Our readers recognized, too, that violence comes in many forms from domestic abuse to prostitution.

Even in countries like Spain and the UK where violence against women has been high on the agenda in the past years, women feel that there has not been enough done to promote awareness and end violence against women, and what little has been achieved does not go far enough.

To improve situations for victims, some 20 percent want tougher laws, French participants also think better training for police and magistrates to cope more sensibly with victims of violence could help.

A clear majority of participants however ask for more protection measures and more infrastructures for victims of violence, for example, eviction of a violent partner, access to safe houses, and witness protection.

“Poor financial support of women's shelters and protection measures leaves women exposed to violence and deprives them and their children from living violent-free lives which is a fundamental right of every human being”, researcher Silvia Sinnmayer from European lobbying group WAVE (Women against violence) agreed.  

Exclusive report reveals: Thousands of women without protection

Back in 1987, an EU report recommended the establishment of one place in a women’s shelter for every 10,000 inhabitants.

It stated that the recommendation should be implemented in every country so as to protect women and to enhance their safety.
were given exclusive access to the latest WAVE report set to be released at the end of the year and can reveal, that even after 23 years, only Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway have implemented the benchmark number of shelter places.

All other countries have failed to provide enough women shelters or other protection measures such as a nation-wide, multi-lingual, 24/7 hotline for victims.

According to the advanced WAVE report the disappointing results continue throughout Europe:
  • In Italy more than 5,000 shelter places are missing
  • There is no 24-hour hotline for victims of violence in France
  • Germany has no nation-wide hotline for victims of violence at all
  • The UK is missing 1,153 shelter places leaving women without protection.

Positive findings in the UK included one national 24-hour hotline and several mutli-lingual hotlines.

“The best legal measures to protect women are worthless if they are not met by sufficient financial resources”, Sinnmayer argues. “WAVE therefore presses for securing financial backing of women shelters and service points.”

The EWL/Oxfam report revealed that recovery policies to overcome the current economic downturn and cuts to funding of public services and NGOs have created conditions whereby women and girls have fewer resources to get safe, to flee, and to protect themselves and their children.


Shila Meyer Behjat
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