“Preventing everyday violence in Europe: Responses in a democratic society” – Oslo, Norway, 7-9 November 2004
1. THE MINISTERS participating in the ad hoc Conference of European Ministers responsible for the prevention of violence in everyday life (Oslo, 7-9 November 2004);
2. Recalling that the Council of Europe aims to promote pluralist democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms on the European continent;
3. Noting that violence in everyday life is a concern for most citizens of the member states of the Council of Europe and may lead to a growing sense of insecurity;
4. Deploring the tremendous individual and economic consequences of everyday violence;
5. Convinced that a comprehensive and co-ordinated national or regional policy to reduce violence in everyday life is most capable of proving effective in the long term;
6. Asserting that such a policy must uphold and strengthen human rights and the rule of law;
7. Having regard to the work in the field of everyday violence carried out within the intergovernmental programme of activities of the Council of Europe, by the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, and, especially, the legal instruments, declarations, guidelines, reports, handbooks and examples of good practice prepared in connection with the Integrated Project "Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society" (2002-04) launched on the initiative of the Secretary General;
8. Having discussed the conclusions and the twelve policy principles for an integrated policy response to violence in everyday life set out in the final report of the Integrated Project;
9. Having taken note of the work carried out in this field by other international organisations, especially the World Health Organization, and the European Union as well as the important work carried out by civil society associations;
10. Considering it appropriate to encourage democratic debate on responses to everyday violence and strengthen preventive action both in general as well as in the light of the constitutional framework and the specific priorities of each member state;
11. WELCOME the results of the efforts made by the Council of Europe in connection with the Integrated Project "Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society" to improve knowledge of the situation regarding everyday violence and its prevention in Europe and to offer decision-makers and field operators pragmatic instruments and examples of good practice with a view to applying an integrated prevention policy;
12. CALL UPON the member states of the Council of Europe to encourage the development and implementation of national or regional policies to prevent and reduce violence in everyday life inspired by the twelve policy principles summarised in the Appendix to this resolution;
13. CALL UPON the member states of the Council of Europe to improve knowledge of different forms of violence as well as their root causes, interconnections and consequences, and to exchange information about research into these questions;
14. INVITE the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the results and conclusions of the Integrated Project and, especially, the legal instruments, policy principles, declarations, guidelines, reports, handbooks and examples of good practice prepared by the Council of Europe in connection with the Project;
15. INVITE the Committee of Ministers to prepare a recommendation to the member states of the Council of Europe on the development of national or regional policies to prevent and reduce violence in everyday life based on the twelve policy principles summarised in the Appendix to this resolution;
16. INVITE the Committee of Ministers to support the initiative of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe to set up a European observatory of everyday violence in partnership with other intergovernmental organisations, the European Union and civil society;
17. INVITE the Committee of Ministers to encourage work on issues related to the prevention and reduction of violence in everyday life within its intergovernmental programme of activities (in particular in the fields of legal co-operation, human rights, social cohesion, health, victim support, education, youth, sport and culture) with yet more emphasis on cross-disciplinary action and intersectoral co-ordination;
18. INVITE the Committee of Ministers to support the implementation, within its intergovernmental programme of activities, of an inter-disciplinary project concerning children and violence, based on the conclusions of the Integrated Project.
Summary of principles for an integrated policy response to violence in everyday life 1
a) Integrated approach: violence in everyday life necessitates a comprehensive and co-ordinated response applied through the thematic, horizontal, vertical and strategic integration of national prevention policy and its implementation at all levels.
b) Systematic reliance on partnerships: an integrated response to everyday violence should be based on partnerships of all people and institutions involved in preventing and reducing violence in order to pool resources and share responsibility, while respecting the role of all those involved.
c) Democratic accountability and participation of civil society: responses to violence should be accountable to citizens’ democratically elected representatives at all levels and involve the active participation of civil society.
d) Preventive approach: in the first place violence should be prevented before it takes place but if violence occurs its consequences should be minimised. Special attention should be given to educational measures.
e) Victim-oriented approach: satisfactory support, care and protection of victims should be used as essential standards for planning, implementing and evaluating responses to violence.
f) Offender-oriented prevention: rehabilitation of offenders, their reintegration into society and the prevention of recidivism should be taken as serious aims in a comprehensive prevention policy.
g) Developing the use of mediation: mediation as a consensual and restorative means of preventing and solving conflicts should be promoted while its scope of application, methods and ethics should be clarified.
h) Giving priority to local prevention programmes: sufficient priority and resources should be given to local partnerships for the prevention of violence.
i) Planning and continuous evaluation: responses to violence should be carefully planned based on situational analyses, adequately documented and continuously evaluated through comparable and evidence-based criteria.
j) Sustainability: prevention programmes should be designed and resourced for sufficiently long periods of time to ensure that the targeted impact can be reached and sustained.
k) Training for all partners: people working in violence prevention partnerships should receive training or guidance to match the skills required in their tasks.
l) Interdisciplinary research policy: interdisciplinary research into violence should be supported in order to generate an adequate knowledge base for policy development and practice.