A new report from the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) finds that while gender-based violence is now at the “forefront of public debate”, many Council of Europe member states should do more to end such violence.
GREVIO, the independent expert body responsible for monitoring implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (“Istanbul Convention”), is “pleased” that many countries have introduced “higher legislative and policy standards” at the national level. On-site evaluation visits have shown that the convention is “extremely well regarded” by state authorities, women’s organisations, and victims’ associations. The report notes improvements in laws and policy documents, with states expanding legal norms of violence against women and domestic violence in line with the provisions of the convention and adopting required action plans.
Also acknowledged are efforts to create national co-ordination mechanisms as a first essential step to develop accurate data and information, and policies that involve all actors at all levels.
The trends and challenges outlined in the publication stem from GREVIO’s first eight monitoring reports made public between 2015 and 2019 (Albania, Austria, Denmark, Monaco, Montenegro, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey) and are confirmed by findings emerging from final draft reports adopted as of May 2019 for Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Serbia.
Despite progress achieved, persistent problems outlined in the report need to be addressed.
For example, specialist support services for victims of violence against women are still insufficient in number and their funding “extremely volatile”, according to the report. In some countries, the geographical reach of specialist support services is insufficient, as support services are missing in rural areas, leading in practice to the exclusion of many.