EG-TFV (2006) 8 rev 5

Blueprint of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence

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The Blueprint was prepared by the Council of Europe Task Force to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence (EG-TFV) and adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 21 June 2006.

Equality Division
Directorate General of Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

Council of Europe, 2006

Printed at the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe Task Force to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence (EG-TFV)

The Council of Europe Task Force to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence (EG-TFV), was set up following a decision taken at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw 16-17 May 2005). The Action Plan adopted during this Summit defines the future action of the Council of Europe and envisages activities to combat violence against women, including domestic violence. In Chapter II.4 it spells out that

“The Council of Europe will take measures to combat violence against women, including domestic violence. It will set up a task force to evaluate progress at national level and establish instruments for quantifying developments at pan-European level with a view to drawing up proposals for action. A pan-European campaign to combat violence against women, including domestic violence, will be prepared and conducted in close co-operation with other European and national actors, including NGOs.“

In accordance herewith, eight international experts in the field of preventing and combating violence against women were appointed to the Task Force by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Proposals for appointment were made by the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) for six members of the Task Force as well as by the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities of the Council of Europe for one member respectively. These appointments were made in consultation with the Committee of Ministers' Rapporteur on Equality between Women and Men (RAP-EG) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

The members of the Task Force are:

Proposed by the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG):

Proposed by the Parliamentary Assembly:

Proposed by the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities:

The Task Force is a Council of Europe sui generis ad-hoc committee directly answerable to the Committee of Ministers. Its terms of reference result directly from the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit. Its tasks were examined and adopted in September 2005 by the Committee of Ministers.
The expected results of the Task Force, as outlined by the Committee of Ministers in the framework of the Follow-up to the Action Plan adopted during the Third Summit of the Council of Europe, are the following:

Table of contents

Outline of the Campaign 7

Action to be carried out in the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign 19

Campaign material 25

Timetable 27

Outline of the Campaign

I. Introduction

Violence against women is the result of an imbalance of power between women and men, leading to serious discrimination against women, both within society and the family. Violence in the family or domestic unit occurs in every Council of Europe member state despite positive developments in law, policies and practices. Violence against women is a violation of human rights, the very nature of which deprives women of their ability to enjoy fundamental freedoms. It often leaves women vulnerable to further abuse and is a major obstacle to overcoming inequality between women and men in society. Violence against women is a detriment to peace, security and democracy in Europe.

States have a responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all their citizens. Therefore, states must ensure that they have taken all reasonable measures to prevent, investigate and punish all forms of violence against women, including in the family and domestic unit. Violence against women is a complex issue, particularly when it occurs within the home, which can be compounded by the response of authorities to whom women turn for help.

While the specific approaches of governments to violence against women will vary depending on particular country situations, all require a multifaceted response. This needs to address both the root causes of violence and its consequences, as well as challenge attitudes and behaviours and extend to legal, policy and practical measures.

A recent Stocktaking Study prepared by the Council of Europe1 pointed out that not all member states provide adequate resources for victims of violence, collect national data on the number of cases of violence occurring in the family or domestic unit that come to the attention of the police and/or health services and track neither referral nor judicial outcomes in a systematic process. Thus, there is no baseline from which the effectiveness of legal and other measures for combating violence against women can be measured.

To this end, member states of the Council of Europe are urged to prioritise preventing and combating violence against women, including violence in the family or domestic unit and are encouraged to become actively involved in implementing this Council of Europe Campaign that calls for strong commitment at the national level.

II. Definition

In accordance with the definition contained in the appendix to Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of women against violence, the term “violence against women” is to be understood as any act of gender-based violence, which results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. This includes:

“violence occurring in the family or domestic unit”, including, inter alia, physical and mental aggression, emotional and psychological abuse, rape and sexual abuse, incest, rape between spouses, regular or occasional partners and cohabitants, crimes committed in the name of honour, female genital and sexual mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, such as forced marriages.
This definition is used for the purpose of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence.

III. Main theme

Bearing in mind the Action Plan adopted during the Third Summit of the Council of Europe and Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers, the theme of the Campaign will be: Prevent and combat violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit (domestic violence).

IV. Aims of the Campaign

The aims of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence are:

V. Objectives

Protection of women against violence in the family or domestic unit should be placed at the highest political level in all Council of Europe member states, and should consequently be allocated the necessary financial resources. All member states should be committed to preventing this type of violence, to protect its victims and provide adequate services, legal redress and compensation as well as to prosecute, punish and provide treatment to the perpetrators. In addition, member states should raise awareness of this problem with all available means, in particular through the media and educational curricula.

Patriarchal culture is an important force in legitimising power inequalities between women and men. It is therefore essential that member states address discriminatory traditions and attitudes as well as gender stereotypes as root causes of violence against women.

Low income, unemployment and poverty are major risk factors for violence against women in the family or domestic unit. Therefore, states should take effective measures to promote economic independence of women.

Member states should commit themselves to elaborate and implement concrete and effective measures for preventing and combating violence against women as contained in Recommendation Rec (2002) 5 through legislation and national plans of action and, at the end of this Campaign, to report on progress achieved.

All measures contained in this Recommendation are equally important and should be fully implemented. Recognising the different stages of member states in implementing this Recommendation, member states are urged to make significant progress during the Campaign in the following areas:

VI. Messages

Combating domestic violence calls for joint public action

Violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit (domestic violence) continues to be a serious problem that extends to all Council of Europe member states, regardless of culture, religion, times of peace, conflict or disaster. It takes on many forms and is too frequently tolerated. Therefore, urgent action is required by governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities and international governmental organisations as well as civil society to stop violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit.

Domestic violence is a human rights violation

Violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit should not be regarded as a private matter. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Therefore, states have the responsibility to act with due diligence to prevent this type of violence, to protect its victims, to award them compensation and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators. Consequently, states have an obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure that women are not exposed to violence and provide protection for those at risk as well as redress for victims. Culture, custom, family or religion should never be used as an excuse for turning a blind eye to human rights violations against women in the home.

Domestic violence seriously injures women and damages the whole of society, including future generations

Many women in many countries die as a result of violence occurring in the family or domestic unit. Furthermore, the physical and psychological health of the surviving victims is seriously affected. This type of violence also has serious consequences for the families as well as society as a whole and is often perpetuated from one generation to another. Violence against women, over and above the personal and social consequences, has a high economic cost (medical care, psychological treatment, absenteeism, less productivity at work etc.). Ending violence against women in the family or domestic unit is the responsibility of everyone. Being silent means complicity.

Domestic violence calls for men’s active participation to combat violence against women

During this campaign, active participation of men in activities aimed at combating violence against women should be encouraged. Men have the responsibility to stand up and challenge violence occurring in the family or domestic unit. To this end, they have an important role to play and can bridge the gap to other men as well as encourage them to speak out against such violence.

VII. Target groups

The Council of Europe will work with a variety of partners and target groups to deliver the Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence. These include:

VIII. Slogan

The slogan of the Council of Europe Campaign is "Stop domestic violence against women".

IX. Duration

Preparations for the Council of Europe Campaign began at the beginning of 2006. A high-level conference to launch the Campaign, with participants from governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, international intergovernmental organisations and NGOs was organised in the Spanish Senate in Madrid, Spain, on 27 November 2006. The Campaign will end in the first half of 2008.

X. Division of responsibilities

The implementation of the Campaign is carried out involving the Committee of Ministers through the Directorate General of Human Rights – DG II (Equality Division) for the intergovernmental dimension of the Campaign, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the parliamentary dimension and the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities of the Council of Europe for the local and regional dimension. Furthermore, this Campaign is carried out in partnership with governments and parliaments of the member states, international intergovernmental organisations as well as NGOs involved in the protection of women against violence.

Action to be carried out in the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign

The Council of Europe Campaign includes two implementation levels through which the Campaign is carried out. The first level includes activities directly carried out by the Council of Europe, reflecting its intergovernmental, parliamentary and local and regional dimensions. The second level consists of national campaigns and national activities carried out by the member states of the Council of Europe at national, local and regional level.

I. The Council of Europe Activities

a. A launching conference

A high-level conference to launch the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence with participants from governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, international intergovernmental organisations and NGOs was organised on 27 November 2006 in the Spanish Senate in Madrid, Spain.

The Task Force to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence had recommended that the launching conference of the Council of Europe Campaign be organised at the highest political level and with wide participation of NGOs working in this field.

b. Media and campaign activities

The launching Conference of the Campaign was given wide media coverage throughout Council of Europe member states.

c. Regional seminars

Five high-level seminars will be organised in the requesting Council of Europe member states highlighting the different objectives of the Campaign. Member states are encouraged to undertake this activity.

d. Activities to be carried out by the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) and Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will implement the parliamentary dimension of the Campaign. Similarly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities will implement the local and regional dimension of the Campaign.

e. Setting up a special Campaign website

A special website devoted to the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence was created at www.coe.int/stopviolence, providing detailed information on the campaign and its activities. The website also provides information on national activities and campaigns and provides a link to national campaign websites. In addition, it serves as an interactive forum for exchanging information and good practices.

f. Dissemination of Campaign material for member states and Council of Europe Information and Field offices

II. Activities organised by the
member states

a. Setting up Focal Points

Each member state will appoint a high-level official and a focal point for the purpose of the Council of Europe Campaign as well as for national campaigns. The high-level official will champion the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence, with the support of a Focal Point. Focal points should be supported by a national Task Force on violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit which should include women’s NGOs and others working to combat violence against women. The role of the national Task Force is to support the delivery of member states’ national campaigns to combat violence against women, including violence in the family or domestic unit.

It should be advisable that this focal point appointed by national authorities would be a person holding responsibilities at national level in the field of combating violence against women. National focal points will contribute to the Council of Europe Campaign by providing information and making available national good practices to combat violence against women which will be published on the Council of Europe website. The Council of Europe will encourage member states with experience and expertise in legislative, policy and other measures to share their knowledge with other member states to support the national campaigns.

Focal points are encouraged to disseminate campaign material as widely as possible for all requesting actors at national level, in particular social and health care workers, the police, the judiciary, policy makers and NGOs working to combat violence against women.

Each member state will inform the Council of Europe Secretariat about the appointment of a national focal point. Subsequently, information concerning all 46 national focal points will be published on the Council of Europe’s website.

b. Campaign Action Plans

National Task Forces are encouraged to develop their own National Campaign Action Plan based on the Blueprint. The following steps should be included:

Member states are invited to submit to the Council of Europe Secretariat an interim report by 2 July 2007 and a final report on activities and concrete results of their national campaigns in 2008 for consideration by the Task Force. In accordance with its mandate, the Task Force will evaluate progress at national level and establish instruments for quantifying developments at pan-European level with a view to drawing up proposals for action.

c. Key Opportunities for Campaigning

1) Date: 8 March

Significance: International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a key opportunity to organise public events and carry out media work in partnership with women’s organisations in the field of violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit. All member states participating in the Council of Europe Campaign are invited to prioritise this type of violence as their theme for International Women’s Day 2007 and 2008 and to promote the messages of the Campaign.

2) Date: 15 May

Significance: International Day of the Family
International Day of the Family provides an important opportunity to highlight violence against women in the family or domestic unit. Member states are invited to organise public campaigning and media activities to speak out against such violence.

3) Date: 25 November – 10 December

Significance: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism campaign provide an opportunity for media action and campaigning. Member states participating in the Council of Europe campaign are invited to speak out publicly on violence against women occurring in the family or domestic unit and join women’s non governmental organisations and others at the national level that are participating in the 16 Days of Activism to campaign together on ending violence against women.

Member states are also invited to use key national dates to publicly highlight the Campaign and to issue joint statements during Committee of Ministers’ meetings over the course of the Campaign.

Campaign material

Printed material produced:
Audiovisual material to be produced subject to the availability of funds:

The Campaign material produced is available at the Council of Europe website devoted to the Campaign at www.coe.int/stopviolence.

Timetable

Year 2006

Year 2007

Year 2008

Note 1 Stocktaking Study on the measures and actions taken in the Council of Europe member states to combat violence against women, 2006.