“Make Europe a zero tolerance zone for violence against women”

25 November 2011
 “Make Europe a zero tolerance zone for violence against women”: Amnesty International 
On the occasion of the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, Amnesty International has urged the European Union (EU) and all members of the Council of Europe to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. To this date 17 countries of the Council of Europe have signed the Convention and the EU has yet to sign. 
Amnesty International has expressed the view that it is unacceptable that every day one in five women in Europe suffers violence. It is estimated that the annual cost of violence against women for each and every one of the 47 countries in the Council of Europe could be as high as €34 billion. For each man, woman and child in a Council of Europe country, the cost could be as high as €555 per annum*. This is a huge financial burden for each country. In comparison, in one year, the French government spent 32.15 billion Euros on its entire defence budget**. 
“For women to feel secure on the streets, in offices and in their homes, states and the EU must address all aspects of violence against women, including prevention, protection, prosecution and reparations. The first step is by joining the Convention and prioritising the issue of violence against women”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
In the last two years, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union under the presidencies of Sweden, Spain and Belgium have made significant strides in addressing violence against women, through the adoption of a Women’s Charter, a gender equality strategy and the promise of a European strategy to combat violence against women. However, action has not yet matched the level of commitment.
“The EU’s commitments to combating violence against women must be brought to life. By signing the Council of Europe Convention, it can ensure that Europe becomes a zero-tolerance zone for violence against women and women and girls are protected from all forms of violence, concluded Beger.
Background information: 
The Council of Europe Convention is a comprehensive, legally-binding international treaty with provisions for prevention, protection of victims and prosecution of offenders. Amnesty International had welcomed the adoption of the Convention in May 2011 as a major step towards ending violence against women in Europe. 
The ministerial session of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Istanbul on 10-11 May 2011 adopted the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. 
The Convention will enter into force once 10 countries have ratified it. The Convention is open to Council of Europe member states; however other countries and the European Union can equally join the treaty. 
So far only 17 countries have signed it and no country has yet ratified the convention. 
* Frequently asked questions, Stop Domestic Violence against women campaign, Council of Europe website: https://www.coe.int/t/dg2/equality/DOMESTICVIOLENCECAMPAIGN/FAQ_en.asp#P59_4532
** Website of the Secretary General of Administration for the Ministry of Defence, France: https://www.defense.gouv.fr/sga/le-sga-en-action/budget-finances-de-la-defense/budget/2010
For more information please contact:
Prerna Humpal, END FGM European Campaign, 
Media and Networks Officer
Amnesty International
Telephone: +32(2) 548 2776