Violence against women – act together!

The UN has selected 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to raise awareness on the fact that around 35 % of women worldwide have experienced physical and /or sexual violence at some point in their lives.[1]


As for Europe, according to a survey conducted by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) from 2014, 10 % of women have experienced sexual violence, 5 % have been raped and 20 % have experienced physical and or sexual violence.


As the governmental level closest to the citizens, towns and regions play an important role in preventing gender based violence and supporting victims. To date, around 1500 local and regional governments have committed to do so by signing the European Charter for Equality.


In its Article 22, the Charter calls on signatories to implement different types of actions, including support to victims, providing training to professionals, raising awareness campaigns; and ensuring coordination between the different service providers for victims (police, health and housing authorities).


In the framework of an EU-funded pilot project, carried out by CEMR and its project partners, a survey was conducted to assess the level of implementation of the Charter on the ground. The results showed that a majority of towns and regions are committed to combat violence against women:


  • 64 % provides specific support structures for women victims of violence such as shelter homes or phone-numbers to which threatened women can call.

  • 69 % have established a coordination agreement between the different actors involved in the fight against violence against women such as agreements between police, social care services and women’s associations.

  • 74 % are implementing actions to prevent gender-based violence such awareness raising campaigns.


Hundreds of European towns are already taking action against gender-based violence.  Below you find a few examples of good practices:

  • Beldur Barik = No fear: Awareness raising campaign carried out by the Basque association of municipalities EUDEL (Spain) and the Basque Institute of Women EMAKUNDE targeted young people, focused on promoting good values, empowering girls and young women and preventing stereotyped attitudes.

  • An awareness raising project targeting young people in the municipality of Sienna (Italy) focusing on stereotypes and how these affect our behavior and choices.

  • Cooperation against violence implemented by the County Council of Norrbotten (Sweden) (information in Swedish) is collaboration between different stakeholders (police, social care services, women’s associations, enterprises etc.) in the region. One of the services they provide is a website with information for women victims of violence, with options to quickly leave the website and hide that you have consulted the website.


Additional information:

  • Read the Joint Statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November 2015 by the European Commission.
  • Several international conventions address the importance of combatting this type of violence such as the UN Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993)[2] and the Istanbul Convention of Council of Europe – Action Against violence against women and domestic violence (2010)[3].