Violence against women as a human rights issue: state of play of measures across the EU

Practical information

Composition of the study group & calendar

Administrator in charge: Gabriela Grasu / Assistant: Ania Darmetko Doudkine


This Own-Initiative Opinion is proposed by the Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FRRL).

Violence against women is the ultimate expression of discrimination against women. It represents a control mechanism that stems from inequality between women and men while at the same time reinforcing and perpetuating this inequality. Not only does this undermine equal coexistence between men and women, it also constitutes an attack on the values and principles enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU. In the 2023 State of the Union address, Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen stressed that "there can be no true equality without freedom from violence". 

Despite a good number of EU initiatives on which the EESC gave its contributions concerning gender equality in general (notably the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025), the proposed Directive on combating violence against women is currently blocked at the Council as some Member States argue that the Treaties do not provide the EU with the competence to criminalise rape at EU level. It is therefore necessary to promote debate and to identify best practices at Member State level to address violence against women. The proposal is therefore to develop a fact-finding mission plan of four countries to compare measures, good practices or deficiencies.

The Opinion will also highlight the lack of available and comparable data on violence against women across the EU. It will look into the reasons for that lack of data and what could be done. The Opinion will also take into account other key aspects of the topic, like the situation of particular groups of women such as those of particular ethnic background, women with disabilities, and/or older women.