A manifesto for an inclusive and comprehensive EU gender-based violence policy for all

#UsToo The most at risk of gender based violence are among the least protected and supported

 

Together we call on the European Union to adopt a forward-thinking and truly inclusive approach to gender-based violence – that leaves no one behind and strives to achieve real change in the lives of all people, without discrimination. To meaningfully address gender-based violence in the European Union, we must promote inclusion, safety, protection, well-being and effective remedies for those most at risk.

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, 8 March, and the expected publication of a draft EU law to address violence against women and domestic violence, the under-signed organisations have adopted this manifesto for a truly inclusive EU law and policy. We welcome the leadership of the European Commission in taking action, and the engagement of the European Parliament, and urge everyone who will be involved in this effort to take an inclusive and intersectional feminist approach.

People facing marginalisation and intersectional discrimination – such as racialised women, women with disabilities, sex workers, those of lower socio-economic status, experiencing homelessness, with precarious or irregular migration status, as well as people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions and sex characteristics including trans and non-binary people, are among the most at risk of gender-based violence and least protected and supported by existing efforts to prevent and tackle violence and other harm.

Measures that aim to address gender-based violence by focusing on increasing criminalisation, policing and incarceration can make many people and communities more vulnerable, reproducing structural, institutional and interpersonal discrimination and violence.[1]

We urge the European Union decision makers to strive for an ambitious and comprehensive package of legal, policy and financial measures to address gender-based violence and to ensure victims’ rights that:

  • Centres the perspectives, concerns and recommendations of those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
  • Takes an intersectional and rights-based approach, recognising that to achieve gender equality and freedom from gender-based violence and protect fundamental rights for all, we have to address all forms of violence, in particular when linked to gender, gender identity and expression, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age, disability, class, religion and migration status, and that those who experience intersectional discrimination face greater vulnerability to all forms of gender-based violence and domestic violence.[2]
  • Addresses structural and historical harms and drivers of gender-based violence, and underlying issues such as poverty and oppression, including those created, enabled and normalised by states.
    • Addresses the laws, policies, practices and by-laws that discourage and prevent victims from reporting – such as those that criminalise aspects of sex work including clients, migration and homelessness – or that deny survivors access to essential sexual and reproductive health services, as well as gender-based and intersectional violence perpetrated by police.
    • This requires review and reform of such laws, policies, practices and by-laws as well as specific measures to promote inclusion, safety, well-being, remedy and reparations for particularly affected groups, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, where the increased powers of the police and requirement to present personal identity and vaccination documents increase the risk of policing of marginalised groups.
  • Prioritises a social, community and survivor-centred approach over further criminalisation, invests in holistic social and support services, including mental health and sexual and reproductive health care, social protection and harm reduction, information provision, community interventions, and mechanisms that enable people to access services, remedies and stability, including residence status, without conditions or requirements to engage with law enforcement and the criminal legal system. Ensures that all women as well as people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions and sex characteristics fleeing violence are able to access safe, suitable and stable accommodation and other support services without furthering the cycle of abuse.
  • Addresses harmful practices such as female genital mutilation; human trafficking; and non-consensual medical interventions such as forced abortion, forced contraception, forced sterilisation, intersex genital mutilation, forced gender reassignment, through this rights-based and intersectional feminist approach.
  • Ensures safety and protection for people who do wish to engage with authorities and with the criminal legal system, protection from secondary victimisation, including sanctions, penalties and immigration enforcement, and ensures accessibility of the justice system and procedural accommodation for victims, including people with disabilities.
  • Does not fall behind, and rather builds upon, existing European standards, including the Istanbul Convention and the Victims’ Rights Directive.[3]

Signed by: 

 

European/ international networks and organisations

Amnesty International

ASTRA Network

Center for Reproductive Rights

Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network

Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice (Equinox)

EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, TB and Hep

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA)

European AIDS Treatment Group

European Anti-Poverty Network

European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB)

European Disability Forum

European Federation of Organisations working with Homeless People (FEANTSA)

European Liberals for Reform

European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

European Sex Workers’ Rights Alliance (ESWA)

FAAAT think & do tank

Fair Trials

GAMBE – supporting migrant women

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

Harm Reduction International

HIV Justice Network

International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN)

La Strada International – European NGO Platform against trafficking in human beings

Mama Cash

Organisation Intersex International Europe (OII Europe)

Red Umbrella Fund

Regional Implementation Initiative on Preventing & Combating Human Trafficking

Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN)

TAMPEP- European Network for the Promotion of Health and Rights among Migrant Sex Workers

TGEU – Transgender Europe

The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe)

 

National level networks and organisations

Ação Pela Identidade – Portugal

ACCEPT Romania – Romania

Act Up-Paris – France

ADPARE – Romania

Alma-TQ – Kazakhstan

APOYO POSITIVO – Spain

Asociación Por ti mujer – Spain

Association for Support of Marginalized Workers STAR-STAR Skopje – North Macedonia

Association HERA XXI, MA IPPF – Georgia

Association of Hungarian Sex-Workers (SZEXE) – Hungary

Association SKUC – Slovenia

ASTRA-Anti trafficking action – Serbia

Ban Ying e.V. – Germany

BASIS-Projekt – Germany

Bilitis Resource Center Foundation – Bulgaria

Brazilian association of LGBTQIA+ (ABGLT) – Brazil

Bundesverband Trans* (BVT*) – Germany

CATNPUD – Catalan network of people who use drugs – Spain

Çavaria – Belgium (Flanders)

Center Women and Modern World – Azerbaijan

CESI – Center for Education, Counselling and Research – Croatia

CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality – The Netherlands

Comitato per i Diritti Civili delle Prostitute – Italy

Comite de Apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Sexo (CATS) – Spain

Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras – Spain

Deutsche Aidshilfe – Germany

Deutscher Frauenrat/National Council of German Women’s Organizations – Germany

Dharma & Martia – The United Kingdom

Društvo Legebitra – Slovenia

Društvo za pomoč in samopomoč brezdomcev Kralji ulice – Slovenia

E-Romnja Association (The Association for Promoting Roma Women’s Rights) – Romania

Espace P… ASBL – Belgium

EUFORIA. Familias Trans-Aliadas – Spain

Euphoria Trans – Italy

European anti-poverty network Czech Republic – Czech Republic

Fair Work – The Netherlands

Family Planning Association of Moldova – Moldova

Feminist Mobilizations – Bulgaria

Fondazione LILA Milano – Italian League for Fighting AIDS – Italy

Fossil Free Culture – The Netherlands

Foundation Solidarity Works – Bulgaria

Frauenhauskoordinierung e.V. – Germany

Fundação Portuguesa “A Comunidade Contra a Sida” – Portugal

Greek Forum of Refugees – Greece

Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) – Greece

Gruppo Trans APS – Italy

Health and social development Foundation – Bulgaria

Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien – Austria

HPLGBT – Ukraine

Initiative Group LGBT “Revers” – Russia

Internationale Vereinigung Intergeschlechtlicher Menschen – OII Germany e. V. – Germany

KOK – German NGO Network against Trafficking in Human Beings – Germany

LEFÖ – Counselling, Education and Support for Migrant Women – Austria

Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany LSVD – Germany

LGBTI+ Gozo – Malta

Life Quality Improvement Organisation Flight – Croatia

LILA Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro l’AIDS – Italia

Lysistrada Fachstelle für Sexarbeit, Olten, CH – Switzerland

Metzineres SCCL – Spain

MIT (Movimento Identità Trans) – Italy

Moluccan Council of Women (MVR) – The Netherlands

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) – Ireland

MozaiQ LGBT Association – Romania

Mujeres Supervivientes de violencias de género – Spain

Nacional Association of Travestis and Trans person from brazil – Brazil

National Ugly Mugs (NUM) – The United Kingdom

Nationale Armutskonferenz/ EAPN – Germany

NGO AIDSi Tugikeskus – Estonia

Österreichischer Frauenring (ÖFR) – Austria

PION – Prostituertes interesseorganisasjon i Norge – Norway

Positive Voice – Greece

Pro-tukipiste ry – Finland

RED AMINVI (RED DE APOYO A LA MUJER INMIGRANTE VICTIMA DE LA VIOLENCIA DE GENERO) – Spain

Red Edition – Migrant sex worker group, Vienna Austria – Austria

Red Umbrella Athens – Greece

Red Umbrella Sweden – Sweden

Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO – Armenia

Rutgers – The Netherlands

SeksWerkExpertise – The Netherlands

Sex Work Polska – Poland

Sex Workers Alliance Ireland – Ireland

Sex worker Forum Austria – Austria

SHOP (Stichting Hulp en Opvang Prostitutie en Mensenhandel) – The Nederlands

Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association – Turkey

Stichting EqualA Foundation – The Netherlands

Stichting Prostitutie Informatie Centrum – The Nederlands

STRASS – Syndicat du Travail Sexuel – France

TAMPEP Nederland – The Netherlands

TransAkcija Institute – Slovenia

Transfeminiinit ry – Transfeminina rf – Transfeminines NGO – Finland

Transgender Infopunt – Belgium

Transvanilla Transgender Association – Hungary

TransX – Austrian Transgender Association – Austria

Ugly Mugs Ireland – Ireland

UMAR РUnịo de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta РPortugal

Vatra Psycho-Social Center – Albania

Vote for a Woman Foundation (Stem op een Vrouw) – The Nederlands

WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform – The Nederlands

Women’s resource center,Armenia NGO – Armenia

Zagreb Pride – Croatia

И Г Опора ЛЮБВИ – Russia

Российский Форум секс-работников – Russia

[1] Victoria Law: Against Carceral Feminism. 17.10.2014, Jacobin. Available: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/10/against-carceral-feminism/

[2] Towards Gender Justice Rethinking EU Gender Equality Policy From an Intersectional Perspective. Equinox- Initiative for Racial Justice, 2021

[3] The EU Victims’ Rights Directive refers to gender-based violence as “violence that is directed against a person because of that person’s gender, gender identity or gender expression or that affects a person of a particular gender disproportionately. See: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32012L0029&from=en

© Jacob Lund – Adobe Stock

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