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The role of local and regional representatives in the fight against domestic violence

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is committed to the fight to end domestic violence against women; in the past, the Congress has already taken a strong stand against violence and such crimes as trafficking in human beings. Furthermore, the Congress has sought to counter gender-based discrimination and the unequal balance of power between the sexes, insisting on the importance of women's participation in political life and their individual voting rights as a means of empowerment and an affirmation of their equal role in society.

The campaign launched by the Council of Europe in November 2006 aims, over the next two years, to raise awareness of this serious crime and to find effective measures for preventing and combating it together with its member states' governments, parliamentarians, local and regional authorities, NGOs and civil society.

Violence must be fought by individuals, by communities and by states, and the campaign emphasises that this is a problem that concerns everyone and which everyone can play their part in addressing – and who better than authorities at grass-roots level who deal with the direct effects of such violence on a tragically daily basis?

The strengths of elected representatives at local and regional level lie in their closeness to the citizen which means they can be effective where it matters – in targeted awareness-raising, and above all in implementing tailored protection and prevention measures.

The Congress urges local and regional authorities across Europe to make the fight against violence against women – including violence in the family or domestic unit – a priority, by becoming actively involved in the Council of Europe campaign at their level –some suggestions on how to participate are given on this site – but also by pushing for the strongest commitment of their national authorities and parliament.

The Congress will organise a conference in 2007 aimed at exploring the different avenues available to local and regional authorities in the fight against violence against women with an emphasis on awareness-raising, protection of victims and training of actors involved with victims such as law enforcement and social services.
Contact congress.violence@coe.int