Raising public awareness of violence against women a key priority

Violence against women must recognised as a violation of human rights, argues Inês Cristina Zuber.

By Inês Cristina Zuber

24 Nov 2014

The first step to ending this scourge is the recognition that violence against women is an undeniable violation of human rights. Violence expressed either in the public or private sphere - since it is present in the man-woman relationship within the family - extends to the economic and productive sphere, and all forms of sexual harassment and exploitation, including those resulting from cultural bases, prostitution and international trafficking.

At European level, member states should ensure compliance with women’s rights, creating the necessary conditions for effective protection of women victims of violence, particularly in areas that concern the adoption of preventive measures and information and clarification to women about their rights.

There should also be a focus on the existence and functioning of a public institutional support network, including the provision of home-shelter, to guarantee social and economic conditions that ensure the autonomy and independence of women who are victims of violence. The provision of specialised healthcare in public health facilities is also a priority, as well as raising public awareness for the problem of violence against women and the social role of women.

Finally, the adoption of measures to ensure the link between professional, family, social life and political life of women is vital, as is ensuring the implementation of measures for the supervision and sanctioning of breaches of maternity protection are effectively applied.

We must not forget that cuts in social and labour rights of women - that governments have applied under the guidance of the EU - make female victims prisoners of their aggressors, curtailing their freedom and autonomy. This is one of the greatest scourges of austerity policy.