Labour MEPs call for stronger laws to eliminate violence against women across the EU

25 November 2015

Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Labour MEPs are renewing calls for EU and UK action on combating violence against women.

Labour MEPs are calling on all the EU's national governments to immediately ratify the Istanbul Convention, the first European treaty which specifically addresses violence against women and creates binding obligations on countries.

These include tackling gender stereotypes, training professionals who work with survivors, and providing specialist, adequately resourced support services.

Mary Honeyball MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson on women's rights and gender equality, said:

"Violence against women remains a reality across Europe. One in three women in the European Union has experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. In Britain, the figure is almost 50 per cent.

"While we are developing strategies in the European Union to eliminate violence against women, the UK government is threatening the very services which protect and support women who have experienced violence.

"Government cuts like those to local government, tax credits and social housing have all served to make it harder for women to flee violent relationships. Meanwhile, changes to Legal Aid have restricted access to justice for some of the most vulnerable women.

"And today, George Osborne will announce another round of cuts which will affect women disproportionately.

"It is estimated that violence against women costs the UK economy billions of pounds every year through the additional costs to public services and the criminal justice system. Domestic violence is also a major barrier to women's employment.

"The government should be investing in services and prevention programmes to tackle the problem at all levels - not cutting them."

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