Pandemic underlines why domestic violence requires urgent action

The Covid pandemic underlines why domestic violence requires urgent action, warns the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

DURING the lockdown of the first COVID-19 wave, police, women’s shelters and non-governmental organisations reported a surge in domestic violence, especially targeting women.

“The second wave and associated lockdown are likely to see similar patterns with women at increased risk of domestic violence,” said the agency (FRA).

“Even as people emerge from lockdowns, challenges remain. Loss of earnings and jobs are likely to provoke further harassment and violence. Economic dependency may lead some women to remain trapped in abusive relationships, unable to leave.”

FRA’s EU-wide survey on violence against women shows that nearly one in three women who find it difficult to make ends meet experienced intimate partner violence.

This compares with almost one in five women who do not struggle to make ends meet.

“Throughout the pandemic, many EU countries were quick to act. They established counselling support and sheltered victims in hotel rooms. At the same time, they launched awareness campaigns promoting hotline numbers.

“While this was welcomed, it also highlighted inadequacies that remain.” said FRA in a statement.

“The Council of Europe’s landmark Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is already in its sixth year. The EU said it will accede to it and 21 EU Member States have signed it. The others should follow suit.”

The Convention provides a clear roadmap on what the EU and its Member States need to do and is a “launchpad for further action to end this widespread human rights abuse”.

The European Commission’s proposal to add violence against women on the list of EU crimes adds further weight.

“It is now high time for governments to act. The police, justice and health sectors need to work together to prevent violence and support victims.

“This requires adequate resources and relevant training. It requires urgent action if we are to bolster measures to end violence against women,” said the agency.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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