EUROPE
EU wide law aims to give added support to victims of violence against women

New laws to combat violence against women have now entered into force.

Violence against women and domestic violence affect an estimated one in three of the 228 million women in the EU.

However, a new EU wide law aims to offer much needed help and support to victims.

It seeks to criminalised certain forms of violence against women across the EU27, including online abuse.

It also hopes to strengthen victims’ access to justice, protection and support.

The EU Directive, said an EC spokesman, wants to “ensure the fundamental rights of equal treatment and non-discrimination between women and men.”

The new rules are “decisive”, he said, against gender-based violence and also ban female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Another target is combating forms of cyber violence, such as the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (including deepfakes), cyber stalking and cyber harassment (including cyber flashing).

“Cyber violence is an urgent issue to address, given the exponential spread and dramatic impact of violence online,” he said.

The new EU rules will help victims of cyber violence in Member States that did not yet criminalise these acts, he noted.

Further comment comes from Věra Jourova, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, who told this site, “For the first time ever, we criminalise gender-based cyber violence, such as non-consensual sharing of intimate images, including deepfakes, which is a nightmare for many women.

“Such violence is often the reason why women leave public life. Online violence is real violence and violence against women is an every minute problem.”

Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Equality added: “This Directive offers a thorough response to a pervasive issue.

“It addresses the prevention of gender-based violence, the protection and support of victims, and the adequate punishment for perpetrators. This is an important step toward eradicating violence against women and domestic violence.”

Member States have until 14 June 2027 to transpose the Directive into their national law.

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