Tuesday, November 10, 2009
*Coopération plus étroite pour prévenir la violence des hommes en discussion au sein de l’UE...*
***Comment poursuivre, au niveau européen, les travaux visant à prévenir et lutter contre la violence des hommes à l’égard des femmes ? Quelles méthodes, quelles stratégies sont les plus applicables ? Telles ont été quelques unes des questions discutées par les représentants de l’UE, des Nations unies, du Conseil de l’Europe et d’ONG à une conférence d’experts. (en anglais)
The day opened with a description by Sylvia Walby, Professor of Gender Research at Lancaster University, of current work at EU level to counter men's violence against women, comparing this with work in the UN and the Council of Europe, both of which have come further as regards legally binding measures and monitoring mechanisms.
The Daphne Programme against men's violence
At present legislation in the EU concerning men's violence against women is at national level and the work being done at EU level consists largely of the European Commission's Daphne Programme, which was started in 1997 and which supports concrete projects aimed at preventing and combating men's violence against women and children. The Daphne Programme has entered its third phase, which will run up to 2013 and will distribute EUR 16.5 million every year to non-governmental organisations and local authorities that run projects to combat men's violence against women and children.
"The Daphne Programme is impressive and of great importance for increasing knowledge and exchange of experience, above all in civil society. It has also contributed to developing policies and strategies at national level," emphasised Professor Walby.
Cooperation raises issues
The form that stronger and more widespread cooperation for preventing and combating men's violence against women at EU level could take is not uncomplicated and raises a number of issues, which was clearly shown by Professor Walby's presentation.
"If there is to be common work on combating men's violence against women, how should knowledge, coordination and methods for measuring violence then be developed? Through legislation or common strategies and goals?" This was one of the questions Professor Walby put to the audience.
Today facts and statistics on men's violence against women is an underdeveloped area in the EU. To carry out strategic and long-term work there must be reliable and comparable statistics, surveys that are repeated over time and common indicators. Professor Walby pointed out that it is necessary for example to be able to evaluate whether violence against women is decreasing or increasing and to gain knowledge of the effects of different policies and strategies.
Feasibility study planned
Ingrid Bellander-Todino, programme coordinator of the Daphne Programme, related that the Commission will shortly be starting a feasibility study on standardisation of national legislation on gender-related violence and violence against children. The feasibility study will include surveying and analysing how the 27 EU Member States implement legislation on men's violence and will investigate important conditions for developing common minimum standards. The study is also to provide a realistic timeframe for the possible introduction of such standards.
"Stronger cooperation at EU level is necessary and the EU should give higher priority to men's violence against women. I think the EU should give some guidelines which set minimum standards and minimum activities that each country should live up to and also that each country should have national action plans." This view was expressed by Marijke Weewauters, one of the conference participants.
Marijke Weewauters participated in drawing up the Belgian action plan against men's violence, and particularly appreciated the fact that representatives of the EU and the European Council were self-critical and that they clearly showed that there must be more and better work in the area.
Workshops on different topics
Apart from discussing how work on combating men's violence can be moved forward and strengthened at EU level, the conference also aimed to provide a forum for sharing experience and knowledge in various areas concerning men's violence against women. This took the form of a range of workshops on topics such as prevention, protection and support for women subjected to violence, sexual violence and honour-related violence and oppression.
At the workshop on violence in the name of honour and forced marriage, participants highlighted the importance of clarity about working methods and goals, reliable statistics and cooperation. Gerry Campbell and Yvonne Rhoden from the Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Directorate in the UK described how they go about providing 35 000 police officers with basic tools and an understanding of what violence in the name of honour is.
"One of the key priorities is to have consistent communication across police services and clear messages of zero tolerance," said Yvonne Rhoden. She also underlined the importance of those who are exposed to violence in the name of honour knowing exactly what they can expect from different authorities, such as the police.
Florence Roche-Pinteaux from the French delegation stated that according to one study around 53 000 people in France today have suffered genital mutilation. An estimated 75 000 people live in forced marriages. She stressed the importance of statistical surveys but also, like other participants, highlighted the fundamental role of broad cooperation between different ministries, authorities and non-governmental organisations in fighting violence in the name of honour.
Panel debate on ways forward
The day ended with a panel debate discussing what is needed to strengthen common efforts on preventing and combating men's violence against women and the shape such work could take. The panel, which consisted of Minister for Integration and Gender Equality Nyamko Sabuni and representatives of the European Commission, the UN, the Council of Europe and a non-governmental organisation at EU level, agreed that EU cooperation needs to grow stronger, though differed in their approaches and perspectives.
Klas Hyllander, representing Män för jämställdhet (Men for gender equality) and MenEngage Europe, thought it was interesting to participate as a Swedish NGO and emphasised that he had learned a lot about how the various organisations - the UN, the EU and the Council of Europe - relate to one another in their work against men's violence. Having said that, he observed that the issue of changing destructive masculinity and involving men and boys in preventive work was little talked about. He would also have liked the conference to contain more dialogue.
"If you invite experts from NGOs, it's a good idea to provide more scope for interaction," he said.