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									                               EG/BUC (99) 1

       Ending domestic violence:
         action and measures

        Proceedings of the Forum

Bucharest (Romania), 26-28 November 1998
                                      EG/BUC (99) 1

       Ending domestic violence:
         action and measures

        Proceedings of the Forum

Bucharest (Romania), 26-28 November 1998

        Steering Committee for Equality
           between women and men
                               THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

         Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is an international organisation with a
European vocation, which at present has 41 European member States, all of which are pluralist
parliamentary democracies1 (this figure includes the 15 member States of the European
Union). It is the European continent‟s largest intergovernmental and parliamentary forum. Its
seat is in Strasbourg (France).

       The objectives of the Council of Europe are:

-          to work for the closer union of the more than 800 millions women and men of

-          to safeguard and develop democracy and human rights;

-          to undertake co-operation in the broadest sense between the member States in the
           fields of human rights (including the media, the field of national minorities, and that
           of combating racism and intolerance), education, culture, social questions, health,
           youth, local and regional authorities, environment and legal affairs.

        The consideration of equality between women and men, seen as a fundamental human
rights, is the responsibility of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men
(CDEG). The experts who form the committee are entrusted with the task of stimulating action
at the national level, as well as within the Council of Europe, to achieve effective equality
between women and men. To this end, the CDEG carries out analyses, studies and evaluations,
defines strategies and political measures, and where necessary, frames the appropriate legal

          Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy,
Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San-Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.


INTRODUCTORY NOTE ............................................................................................ 7

PROGRAMME ............................................................................................................... 9

Director of Human Rights, Council of Europe ............................................................. 13

KEYNOTE SPEECH by Ms Carol HAGEMANN-WHITE (Germany) ...................... 17

I.          THEME:           ENDING DOMESTIC                            VIOLENCE:               ACTION             AND

Sub-theme 1.            Confronting domestic violence and its consequences
                        Rapporteur: Ms Maryse JASPARD (France) ..................................... 27

Sub-theme 2.            Assistance and support for victims
                        Rapporteur: Ms Astrid KECKEIS (Austria) ...................................... 39

Sub-theme 3.            Working with perpetrators
                        Rapporteur: Mr Per ISDAL (Norway) ............................................... 47

Sub-theme 4.            Prevention of domestic violence
                        Rapporteur: Ms Urszula NOWAKOWSKA (Poland) ....................... 51


         Working Group on Sub-theme 1 ......................................................................... 69

         Working Group on Sub-theme 2 ......................................................................... 73

         Working Group on Sub-theme 3 ......................................................................... 77

         Working Group on Sub-theme 4 ......................................................................... 79

         Ms Gabriela ADAMEŞTEANU (Romania) ....................................................... 83

                                                     *      *      *

ADDRESS by Ms Norica NICOLAI (Romania)
State Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection ............................................ 93

Head of Division II, Directorate of Human Rights, Council of Europe ......................... 95

                                                  *      *      *


        1.           List of participants ............................................................................. 97

        2.           Reference documents and background documents
                     submitted to the participants ............................................................ 109


       The Information Forum, the proceedings of which follow, was held in Bucharest
(Romania) from 26 to 28 November 1998. It was organised by the Steering Committee for
equality between women and men (CDEG) of the Council of Europe in co-operation with
the Romanian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

         It is internationally accepted that the use of violence against women is a violation
of basic human rights. The Heads of State and Government of the member States of the
Council of Europe, meeting in Strasbourg on 10 and 11 October 1997 for their Second
Summit, drew attention to the importance of this subject by affirming their "determination
to combat violence against women and all forms of sexual exploitation of women".

          The subject has been addressed at international conferences (United Nations
Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993) and the Fourth World Conference on
Women (Beijing, 1995)) and has been discussed within the Council of Europe in different
ways for many years. Violence in the private sphere is becoming the subject of increasing
attention and has been touched upon in the framework of the global problem of violence
against women. The Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers has adopted two
Recommendations on this subject2.

          Since the 3rd European Ministerial Conference on equality between women and
men (Rome, 21-22 October 1993), the activities of the Council of Europe linked to
violence against women have intensified. The Rome Conference adopted a Declaration on
policies for combating violence against women in a democratic Europe and elements for
intervention strategies to be included in a Plan of Action to combat violence against
women. A Group of Specialists for combating violence against women was set up to
develop this Plan of Action under the auspices of the CDEG. The Final Report of
Activities of this Group, comprising this Plan of Action, was published in June 1997
(document EG-S-VL (97) 1). A Group of Specialists was created in 1998 in order to
prepare a legal instrument: a recommendation to member States for the protection of
women and young girls against violence. The Council of Europe Seminar on "Promoting
equality: a common issue for men and women" (Strasbourg, 17-18 June 1997) also
provided a useful contribution to the work on violence against women, in particular
regarding its prevention.

         In order to provide an input into the work of this group of specialists, it was
decided to organise the Forum around the following themes and sub-themes:

General theme:        Ending domestic violence: action and measures
Sub-theme 1:               Confronting domestic violence and its consequences
Sub-theme 2:               Assistance and support for victims
Sub-theme 3:          Working with the perpetrators
Sub-theme 4:          Prevention of domestic violence

         Recommendation No. R (85) 4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on
violence in the family and Recommendation No. R (90) 2 of the Committee of Ministers to
member States on social measures concerning violence within the family.

         The four sub-themes were the subject of written reports, which formed a basis for
discussion in the working groups. Moreover, a keynote speech introduced the general

         During the 2nd day of the Forum, a debate in plenary session was organised on the
subject of the preparation of a European legal instrument to combat violence against
women. This debate was held in the presence of the members of the Group of Specialists
in charge of preparing a draft recommendation on the protection of women and young girls
against violence (EG-S-FV). The principal aim of the debate was to assist this group in
carrying out its work.

        Beyond these questions, linked to the preparation of the draft recommendation, the
participants could discuss the necessity and feasibility of a European Convention on
combating violence against women.

       The Forum was attended by some 140 people. Participants included government
experts, policy makers, researchers on violence against women, therapists, educators,
laywers, police officers, judges, sociologists, psychologists, medical doctors, as well as
representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations.

       The Forum was chaired of Romania, Mrs Norica NICOLAI, Secretary State,
Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mrs Gabriela ADAMEŞTEANU (Romania),
General Rapporteur, prepared and presented the Conclusions of the Forum.

         A specific session devoted to Romanian NGOs was organised during the Forum.

           The present publication sets out the texts of the statements and the speeches made
during the Forum, the reports on the general theme and sub-themes, the conclusions of the
Working Groups, the General Conclusions as well as the list of reference documents and
the list of participants.



08.30-09.30   Arrival of participants and registration

09.30-10.15   OPENING SESSION

              Chair:        Ms Norica NICOLAI (Romania), Secretary of State,
                            Ministry of Labour and Social Protection

              Opening address by Mr Pierre-Henri IMBERT, Director of Human
              Rights of the Council of Europe

              Address by Mr Alexandru ATHANASIU, Romanian Minister of
              Labour and Social Protection

              Address by Ms Paula IVANESCU, Vice-Chair of the Chamber of
              Deputies of Romania

              Address by Mr Ulm SPINEANU, Vice-Chair of the Romanian Senate

              Address by Ms Luminita PETRESCU, State Counsellor, Romanian

              Address by Ms Elena POPTODOROVA, Vice-Chair of the Committee
              on Equal Opportunities for women and men of the Parliamentary
              Assembly of the Council of Europe

10.15-10.30   Coffee break

10.30-12.00   PLENARY SESSION

              Chair:        Ms Caroline MECHIN (France), Chair of the Steering
                            Committee on equality between women and men (CDEG)

              Keynote speech on the general theme by
              Ms Carol HAGEMANN-WHITE (Germany),
              followed by a debate

12.00-14.00   Lunch break

14.00-15.00   PLENARY SESSION

              Chair:        Ms Iphigénie KATSARIDOU (Greece), member of the
                            Bureau of the CDEG

              Presentation of reports by two Rapporteurs on:

              SUB-THEME 1:      Confronting      domestic      violence   and     its

              Rapporteur:       Ms Maryse JASPARD (France)

              SUB-THEME 2:               Assistance and support for victims

              Rapporteur:       Ms Astrid KECKEIS (Austria)

              followed by questions and replies on the two sub-themes

15.00-18.00   WORKING GROUPS

              SUB-THEME 1:      Confronting      domestic      violence   and     its

              Chair:            Ms Elena POPTODOROVA (Bulgaria)

              SUB-THEME 2:      Assistance and support for victims

              Chair:            Mr Santiago URIOS MOLINER (Spain), member of
                                the Group of Specialists on the protection of women
                                and young girls against violence (EG-S-FV)

16.15-16.30   Coffee break

18.30         Reception hosted by the Romanian authorities (World Trade Center)


09.30-10.30   PLENARY SESSION

              Chair:            Ms Helene REARDON BOND (United Kingdom),
                                Women's Unit, Cabinet Office

              Presentation of reports by two Rapporteurs on:

              SUB-THEME 3:      Working with the perpetrators

              Rapporteur:       Mr Per ISDAL (Norway)
              SUB-THEME 4:      Prevention of domestic violence

              Rapporteur:      Ms Urszula NOWAKOWSKA (Poland)

              followed by questions and replies on the two sub-themes

10.30-11.00   Coffee break

11.00-13.00   WORKING GROUPS

              SUB-THEME 3:      Working with the perpetrators

              Chair:           Ms Violeta NEUBAUER (Slovenia), member of the

              SUB-THEME 4:      Prevention of domestic violence

              Chair:           Ms Elsa THORKELSDÓTTIR (Iceland), member of
                               the Bureau of the CDEG

13.00-14.30   Lunch break

14.30-15.30   WORKING GROUPS (continued)

15.30-16.00   Coffee break

16.00-18.00   Discussion on the preparation of a draft European legal instrument
              to combat violence against women


10.00-12.00   PLENARY SESSION

              CLOSING SESSION

              Chair:           Ms Norica NICOLAI (Romania), State Secretary,
                               Ministry of Labour and Social Protection

              Presentation of the conclusions of the Working Groups by the

              Presentation of the general conclusions by the General Rapporteur,
              Ms Gabriela ADAMEŞTEANU (Romania)

              Address by Ms Mariana STOICA, Chair of the Commission for
              European Integration of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies

              Closing address by Mr Hanno HARTIG, Head of Division II,
              Directorate of Human Rights of the Council of Europe

13.00-15.00   Special session devoted to NGOs

              Chair:     Ms Caroline MECHIN (France), Chair of the Steering
                         Committee on equality between women and men (CDEG)

                                 OPENING ADDRESS

                            by Mr Pierre-Henri IMBERT
                              Director of Human Rights
                   Directorate of Human Rights, Council of Europe

        It is a great pleasure for me today to open this seventh Information Forum on
national policies in the field of equality between women and men. I am very happy to
revisit Bucharest and enjoy that superlative Romanian hospitality again, but above all I
sincerely regard this Forum as an important event.

        Your choice of the theme "Ending domestic violence: action and measures"
signifies your decision to address an issue which is central to the protection and further
realisation of fundamental human rights. This is very well-timed, as the year 1998
marks the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1999 the
50th anniversary of the Council of Europe will be commemorated, and the 50th
anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights the year after. This Forum
fully deserves a prominent place among the commemorative events, for while major
work has been accomplished for the furtherance and development of these rights over
the last half-century, much remains to be done, especially in the field under discussion.

       Domestic violence has long remained a virtually invisible phenomenon. At
present this form of violence is acknowledged as universal and widespread in all
sectors of society. As the writer of a recent article on comparative criminal law
observed, “a woman or teenage girl is at greater risk of maltreatment or sexual assault
at home than out in the street, and the same applies to children; while the source of
danger may be a paedophile abductor outside the family, all professionals in the matter
know that most abusers are to be found in the family itself”. And yet, while the veil of
silence has lifted, the campaign against this social evil is only just beginning. It is
perhaps the most serious current obstacle to genuine equality between women and men.

       Indeed, violence against women, and domestic violence in particular, nearly
always committed by men, challenges the essential idea underpinning the whole edifice
of human rights, namely that all human beings are equal in value and dignity. Violence
introduces a hierarchy of rights with gravely unequal treatment of the individuals who
form the family unit. It afflicts individuals, specifically women and children, in their
inmost selves.

        The aim of this forum is to pinpoint appropriate strategies and means for
guarding against and ending domestic violence. I emphasise "ending" because it is not
enough to try and repair the damage caused by violence or to guard against it. With the
21st century upon us, we can no longer condone the continued perpetration of such
human rights violations in the family sanctum. But, as one of the reports prepared for
the Forum aptly points out, the "private" nature of this violence is exactly what has
always made and still makes intervention and action so difficult. Intra-family violence
raises the complex question of the family's simultaneous attachment to the private and
public spheres. It also raises the question of state intervention having regard to the
sanctity of private life. We must therefore find out how to remove this violence from
the private sphere in order to combat it as effectively as possible.

       These are difficult questions but we must do our utmost to answer them.

       For several years the action of the Council of Europe has been aimed at
promoting awareness of the scale of the phenomenon and applying strategies to counter
violence in the family. This effort is part of policies for the achievement of equality
between women and men. Following the 3rd European Ministerial Conference on
Equality held in Rome in 1993, a Plan of Action to combat violence against women
was adopted and now constitutes a highly valued document. However, much still
remains to be done. Without wishing to encroach on your discussions, may I put to you
a few personal considerations regarding the serious subject in hand.

        The first concerns the legal approach. The phenomenon under discussion is
primarily in the social and psychological realm, rooted deep in the mental processes of
individuals but also in the ideas, values and myths that shape our societies. Here, the
individual unconscious and the collective unconscious converge and collide. Let us not
forget that violence is the primal essence of human life and that our societies are made
possible by dominating and mastering it.

        This is where the law comes in. Legal rules have two basic functions: naming
facts and deeds; establishing limits and prohibitions.

       In either respect, most Council of Europe member states need to make
considerable progress on all issues relating to domestic violence. It must be classed as
crime and the criminals punished but, since family relationships are involved, special
arrangements may be contemplated. From this angle, it will be interesting to analyse
the innovations made by some of the national legislation mentioned in the reports to be

        Of course, in itself the law is void unless enforced. The State's role in doing do
is crucial. It should not be possible for the policy of non-interference in private affairs,
nor traditional customs and values, to be invoked by way of impediments to combating
violence. How can a gravely threatened person feel safe without the assurance that all
the requisite measures are being taken?

       I speak of the State in the broadest sense of the word. All institutions must be
mobilised and feel committed - police, justice and educational and social services.
Moreover, non-governmental organisations also have an essential part to play, and their
actions should be strongly supported.

       This is the context in which the latest Council of Europe activity is placed. As
you know, the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG),
the organiser of this Forum, includes a group of specialists which has begun drafting a
Recommendation on the protection of women and girls against violence. Some
members of the group are present, and I am sure the proceedings here will assist their
work. At all events, I hope that the Forum will contribute decisively to the adoption of
the Recommendation, which is to contain a body of very useful rules and principles for

all member States. Incidentally, the Council of Europe will be breaking new ground yet
again because this is the first international instrument of its kind in this field.

       The law must be enforced but ideally, of course, it should not need enforcing.
Prevention remains an indispensable phase. All means must be used to intensify and
increase awareness, education and information. This too entails comprehensive, co-
ordinated action with the participation of all agencies concerned.

       In this context, as my second point, I consider it indispensable to continue
studying the causes and context of domestic violence and dissecting its mechanisms. It
is a most demanding task. To circumscribe the problem fully, we must have reliable
data because this is the only way to convince the decision-makers, and a major effort is
needed in this respect. I am glad to note that the CDEG intends next year to convene a
meeting of researchers to discuss this question. You may already be able to single out
the areas where research is most clearly necessary.

        My final point relates to attitudes and strategies for fighting the vicious process
of domestic violence. We must endeavour to shake off the ingrained stereotypes that
affect us all and to take an unbiased view of perpetrators and victims alike.

       It is increasingly accepted that the men resorting to violence against women and
children must take responsibility for their acts and that penalties are necessary.
However, they will not suffice unless backed by therapy, by systematic counselling
work with the men concerned to make them understand that violence can never be a
solution, that to become and remain a man one must never "Destroy the child within
oneself", to quote a British educationist, by brutal and violent acts.

       We must also develop greater sensitivity to women victims of violence and
more insight into their attitude, not forgetting that stereotypes handicap women as
much as men. While a man can be violent through fear of losing the "power" which he
feels he must have to play his role, a woman often feels compelled to sacrifice herself
for the family, for her children subjected to abominable blackmail and literally held
hostage. For that reason, a woman is often prepared to accept the unacceptable.

       This again points to the need for prevention and especially for work with
children. To stamp out the beliefs and reflexes so deeply ingrained in us, an enormous
educational effort is essential. What I mean is that from a very early age children and
young people should be taught to respect equality with difference, the crucial factor in
ensuring respect for all human rights.

       In conclusion, may I say that the time has come for definite, clear-headed action.
Domestic violence is founded on an unequal power relationship between the sexes and
exploits children's presence. It highlights the need to achieve equality at the foundation, the
taproot, of society. Ending domestic violence in all forms is a vital prerequisite for
building tomorrow's Europe founded on respect for individual rights and human dignity.

                                  KEYNOTE SPEECH

                   by Ms Carol HAGEMANN-WHITE (Germany)

        It is a great honour to be invited to speak at this information forum, with which
the Council of Europe reaffirms its commitment to ending domestic violence. A broad-
based discussion of strategies and methods towards this goal is both urgent and timely
for at least three reasons:

      While awareness of men‟s violence towards women as a serious and persistent
problem has increased over the past 25 years, and a wide range of measures have been
proposed or implemented in various European countries, it is now clear that there is no
simple solution, no one best way. It is time to intensify our interchange and reflect on
how strategies work under specified conditions and in context, to promote flexible and
creative learning from each other‟s experience.

       While in many locations services have been established for the safety of women
and their children as well as sanctions to confront the violence of men, it is now clear
that these, in themselves, are not enough to end, perhaps not even to reduce, domestic
violence. Single interventions represent an adjustment to living with violence as
normal. It is time to develop complex, co-operative strategies that can be effective on a
community level.

       While the will to address the violence rooted in gender relations has grown
stronger, in actual practice this is almost everywhere treated as a separate, distinct
issue, as if it were unrelated to the multiple challenges of protecting and developing
democracy. Single issue campaigns and activities inevitably compete for attention and
resources. It is time to recognise domestic violence as an obstacle to achieving peace,
health, equality and democratic participation, to understand how these central goals
interlock and to generate integrated strategies towards human rights and community
well being.

1.     Identifying and documenting the problem

        The first step towards addressing any problem is knowledge. Unlike other, long
documented dimensions of gender inequality, violence against women was neither
recognised as a significant problem, nor was it studied empirically, until it emerged
through women‟s political action in the 1970s or 1980s. In particular, the success of
feminist activism in creating hotlines, shelters and counselling agencies for women
made men‟s violence visible as a widespread social problem and a structural element in
gender relations. Much of the existing research has developed out of the documentation
of women‟s accounts when seeking help, when leaving a violent man or when
attempting to protect their children from sexual abuse. Later the study of the behaviour
and motives of violent men followed, most of it based on samples via agencies of
social control, such as court-mandated treatment programmes. The fact that such
research is still very scarce in Europe is directly related to the low level of intervention
targeting violent men in almost all countries.
      In 1997, the Group of Specialists for combating violence against women
appointed by the Council of Europe stated that:

-      it is not possible to give an accurate estimate of the scale of the problem
       throughout the member States;

-      very few countries in Europe have conducted careful, large-scale representative

-      comparisons of available data could not be made, since there is no way of
       ensuring compatibility between either official statistics or research findings.

       The group particularly emphasised that the level of official reporting should
never be taken as an accurate estimate of the problem at national, regional or local level
because reporting increases when agencies are seen as willing to listen, hear and
respond to violence against women. Effective measures that make women less
vulnerable, less dependent, and more able to escape victimisation may lead to a higher
level of reporting, but this does not tell us whether violence has increased, remained the
same or even become less frequent. At present, we cannot describe trends over time
even within any member State; as the group pointed out, despite many efforts to
improve the situation, no country in Europe has yet created a climate of confidence for
women and girls experiencing violence.

2.     Understanding the problem

       In Western Europe, women‟s experience of violence reached public awareness
in the context of concern about its specific forms and sites: rape, battering, sexual
abuse of girls (and boys), marital rape, sexual harassment at work and in public places,
dehumanising pornography, sex tourism. Each of these has been seen as a separate and
specific issue; data suggesting estimated prevalence have been put forward, qualitative
studies have described the ways in which women and girls become victims and its
impact on them. More recently, research has thrown light on how different forms and
sites of violence are interrelated. Data now converge to suggest that child physical
abuse and child sexual abuse both frequently occur in a context in which the mother is
beaten; battered women are also raped or forced into unwanted sexual practices as well
as experiencing economic deprivation, emotional abuse and deliberate humiliation. Liz
Kelly (1988) has suggested the concept of a continuum of violence to describe both the
wide range of encounters with threat and violence as well as their interlocking impact.
Both our empirical and our theoretical knowledge in this field thus underscore that
gender, power and violence are related.

        Persistent myths which obstruct recognition of this relationship stand in the way
of developing effective strategies. Unlike a rare disease for which one turns to
specialists, domestic violence is embedded in everyday life within all groups of society;
it follows that knowledge must be used to educate both the general public and all
members of agencies involved in policy and intervention. Prevalent misconceptions
belong to the following types:

-      the belief that men who act violently within intimate relationships are
       recognisably different from the average or the majority of society; domestic
       violence is believed to occur in “other” groups (e.g. lower class, ethnic
       minorities, migrants, deviant or “sick men”) - it is them, not us;

-      the belief that the woman who suffers violence has in some way provoked it or
       brought it on herself, and that if she fulfilled her role as a good wife, a good
       mother and a good woman, the violence would cease - it happens to them, not

-      the belief that something beyond the man‟s control (alcohol, drugs, poverty,
       hormones, an unhappy childhood, his religion or culture) causes the violence to
       erupt and that he cannot be held responsible - men can‟t help what they do to
       their wives.

        None of these beliefs is confirmed by objective data, on the contrary, they have
been regularly disproved. They persist in part for the same reasons that prejudice
against foreigners, migrants, and persons of a different religious or ethnic origin
persist: they give people a way of closing their minds to unpleasant facts and to avoid
coming to terms with social change, and in difficult times, they justify channelling
aggression towards groups to which social evils are attributed. It is clearly one of the
most vital tasks for the future of Europe to overcome this type of thinking, which often
goes unrecognised when the problem seems to be new.

        Men who batter women are often normal and well integrated into society in
every other way; women are not responsible for the violent acts done to them; men‟s
violence towards known women does not erupt unpredictably like a volcano, and they
are not helpless to control it. Any approach towards ending domestic violence must
begin with recognising these basic facts. Nonetheless, we need to know more about
men who choose violence. The myths I have sketched correspond to typical
justifications that violent men themselves give when called to account. Yet although
their acts are condemned, their accounts are often reported, for example in the media,
as fact. In no other area of criminal behaviour is the inclination so widespread to accept
at face value the reasons a perpetrator gives for being justified in doing wrong. This
may be due to a kind of emotional truth attached to them – the attitudes and feelings
seem familiar to other men, women recognise them as a masculine viewpoint. They are
worth a closer look, for which I will refer to three in-depth empirical studies.

        Jeff Hearn (1998) found in his research with British men who have beaten,
injured or killed women, that most of them say “I am not a violent man”, even if they
go on to recount concrete examples of their violence with little regret. As Hearn points
out, this is a way of establishing credibility, of presenting a socially acceptable and
normal self; they are other than some supposed centre of violence or violent men. The
woman appears absent, except as receiver of the violence or as someone who has
shown misconduct (“she wouldn‟t shut up, so I hit her”); the men show no awareness
of her experience. And throughout, the men are convinced that they “had to” do
whatever they did, because the woman was the way she was, and did not conform to
their demands or expectations.

       Eva Lundgren (1992) found, in her interviews with Norwegian evangelical
Christians who beat their wives, that the men rejected the notion of having lost control
due to extreme anger; on the contrary, it was of the greatest importance to them to
assure the interviewer that they were fully in control of themselves and of the woman
when beating her: control is what violence is all about. They “have to” beat her because
she is out of control; violence will bring her back into line. Hearn also found that talk
about losing control, frequently cited as an excuse, was often part of a larger story
centring on the man‟s conscious control.

        When men feel justified in becoming violent, this seems to be connected to
specifically masculine feelings of shame, closely bound to the fear of losing control.
James Gilligan (1996), an American psychiatrist who has worked for many years with
extremely violent men, has described the gendered nature of men‟s violence. He points
to the contrasting conditions under which the two sexes are exposed to feelings of
private shame or public dishonour. Gender codes teach boys and men to acquiesce in
(and support, defend and cling to) a set of social roles which require them both to take
the risk of, and to inflict on others, physical injury, pain, mutilation and death. Men are
exposed to shame if they are unwilling to be violent, and are rewarded with honour
when they do so. A woman‟s worthiness to be honoured or shamed is judged by how
well she fulfils her roles as actual or potential wife and mother. She can threaten the
honour of her family by overstepping the boundaries of these roles; thus, women are
given the power to bring dishonour on men. Although much of men‟s violence is
directed against other men, the concept of pride and self-esteem which may obligate a
man to strike out against disrespect and prove himself a real man also “encourages a
man to become violent if the woman to whom he is related or married „dishonours‟ him
by acting in ways that transgress her prescribed sexual role”.

       Finally, Eva Lundgren has shown that men‟s violence in intimate relationships
must be understood as a process, not as a series of incidents. The starting point, the
occasion for the first violent act, may grow out of familiar and even widely accepted
patterns of gender role expectations which a man feels justified in enforcing on the
woman, usually involving something she should not do, such as going out on her own
without asking him. Over time, the violence becomes increasingly “normal”; later on it
even becomes sexualised (violence is a very intense physical experience) so that he
derives satisfaction from the violent acts themselves as well as from their confirmation
of his dominant and powerful position. The gender role prescriptions become more
extreme and the space within which the woman is allowed to act becomes smaller and

        These analyses may help us to understand a striking paradox. On the one hand,
men‟s justifications and excuses for domestic violence are met with a great deal of
understanding, because they are recognised as reflecting norms of masculine honour
and men‟s need for respect in the shape of dominance. There is a tendency to play the
violence down and find excuses. On the other hand, when it becomes clear how
thoroughly men have integrated their violence into ordinary life and into their sense of
self, they suddenly begin to seem foreign, and we are inclined to think of them as
fundamentally different from the rest of us. This paradoxical effect of seeing and
hearing about domestic violence – excuses and denial on the one hand, dramatisation
and distancing on the other – helps keep the myths alive despite all that is known to
disprove them.

3.     Challenges to domestic violence

        The efficacy of men‟s violence toward women is very much based on its relative
“invisibility”. This is a multi-facetted phenomenon, comprising the exclusion of such
violence from the public sphere, routine procedures of state agencies which can work
to normalise it, factors leading women to accept blame for the violence exerted against
them, constructs of masculinity, femininity and heterosexuality which confound
violation with intimacy, and other elements. As a result, low levels of reporting often
correlate with high levels of acceptance of violence in everyday life. The first step
towards challenging violence against women as a power structure consists in making it
visible, and the first and absolutely necessary response is to break the grip of violent
men‟s control and offer women refuge and support in escaping from it.

       Violence as a medium through which men control and dominate women has
been under attack in all European countries as long as there have been organised efforts
by women to attain equality. In recent decades, the major pathways of challenging the
functioning of violence and control in everyday life have been:

      legal reform, both towards redefining women‟s right to personal integrity and
       efforts to involve police and the criminal justice system with sanctioning and
       limiting male violence;

      social services and political self-help activities to expand women‟s scope of
       action and options of self-determination and personal safety;

      political and public awareness-raising and education to change norms of
       masculinity and their presentation in schools, media, and organisational life;

      working to increase women‟s economic and social independence and their range
       of options, including alternative forms of the family and of living.

       Legal reform has tended to move towards some or all of the following changes:

      improving women‟s rights within marriage;

      facilitating non-punitive divorce for women;

      redefining abuse within marriage as a criminal offence and developing more
       effective procedural rules;

      introducing or extending civil law remedies and protection orders for women
       who experience violence;

      expanding the range of acts punishable as rape;

      recasting the complainant in cases of rape and sexual violence as a bona fide
       victim rather than as a suspect;

      eliminating the marital exemption from rape law.

       Services and increased options for women have included:

      shelters and other supporting services for battered women;

      counselling and/or free legal advice for women who have suffered domestic or
       sexual violence;

      improved medical procedures and special training for female police officers to
       respond appropriately to victims and collect evidence effectively;

      crisis intervention centres and hotlines, for example within the health care

      further education and awareness raising across all areas of social, legal and
       medical services;

      training women for assertiveness and self-defence;

      political and awareness-raising campaigns.

        Many factors affect the choice of methods and measures among this list, which
is by no means exhaustive. Just as one can distinguish different models of the welfare
state and their overall approaches to gender inequality, there are different patterns in
the effort to limit, reduce or eliminate domestic violence. Today I would like to point to
a resent shift in focus in countries with a history of active intervention. Perhaps
organisations and states that are relatively new to the struggle to end domestic violence
may take it up from here. Summarised in one phrase, there is a move away from single
measure policies and towards co-ordinated strategies.

4.     New directions in working to end domestic violence

       Many concrete suggestions have been made for achieving “zero tolerance” and,
in the long term, eliminating violence against women. The Group of Specialists for
combating violence against women has emphasised our collective responsibility to
achieve this goal; they have recommended the establishment of national monitoring
committees to oversee implementation. This would, without doubt, make a clear public
statement of commitment.

        And yet a word of caution may be permitted. Domestic violence is brought forth
and maintained by multiple systems; it is not “simply” a problem of education and
attitudes, nor “simply” a consequence of women‟s lack of economic independence, nor
“simply” a problem of the legal and criminal justice system not doing its job, nor
simply due to lack of services and safe refuges for women - it is all of these interacting
and much more. The list of suggested changes in the 50-page Plan of Action drawn up
by the group reflect this. If every member country would implement only half of them,
that would be progress indeed - but if the mix of individual measures were chosen at
random and without consideration of how they interact, we might find ourselves not
much closer to ending domestic violence than we are now.

        Currently another approach is emerging: a shift in focus from “measures and
programmes” to developing community intervention strategies through inter-agency
co-operation on a local level. My research group has been studying this development in
Germany, where shelters for battered women have existed for over 20 years in the
West, in East Germany since 1988; there are now over 400. Although their value is
well established, shelter workers have felt a growing sense of frustration. At the outset
of the 90s, reports of the success of co-ordinated community responses in the US
triggered new hope, and a discussion arose on new forms of co-operation. There were
many questions and doubts concerning the transfer of programmes from a very
different legal and cultural context to the European continent, the possible danger to the
funding and maintenance of existing services for women, the risks of compromising
too much, too soon without clear feminist leadership, and the uncertain outlook if
projects for women, the sufferers, work in tandem with programmes for men, the
perpetrators. Despite doubts and controversy, an increasing number of community-
level co-operative approaches to domestic violence has developed in the past 6 years.
The impetus often came from awareness-raising campaigns of the German federal or
state governments, designed to give financial and consulting support to decentralised
activities such as public lectures, workshops, theatre productions. In their wake,
concerned individuals and groups began to discuss how to initiate change. Most of the
networks started as round tables, where representatives of social agencies, shelters,
police and the justice system meet to talk about improving responses and strategies.

       The first hurdle to be overcome is the problem of communication. Many
concepts have different meanings in women‟s organisations, in social agencies and in
the legal system. Participants have to share some understanding of what they mean by
violence and agree what kind of violence they will work on. They have to learn what
different resources each can bring into the co-operative work, and find a way to co-
ordinate whatever activities they may initiate.

        There are many different types of round tables. Small groups may aim to raise
public awareness of domestic violence, larger groups may agree on a concrete aim, e.g.
to set up a 24-hour hotline. Some are integrated into the work of local gender equality
offices, some have little or no connection to grassroots organisations, and some only
aim to implement one aspect of co-ordinated intervention, e.g. a new policy for the
public prosecutor.

       Participation depends very much on regional conditions. A community may
have no local shelter, or no group, which would consider working with violent men;
this will influence the choice of goals and proceedings. There may be specific
resources available. In Hanover, social workers have been employed by the police to
help them handle various social problems; this allowed the Hanover Intervention
Project direct access to victims of domestic violence when the police are called in. The
recruitment strategies also vary. The initiator often has a background in women‟s
advocacy or shelter work. Many agencies already have bilateral co-operation, e.g. there
are usually contacts between the shelters and the police. They know each other from
their daily work and the co-ordinating person knows who to talk to. Community
projects thus rest on a foundation of many prior bilateral connections.

      Participation in building a community network seems to require a strong
motivation growing from some specific (job-related) interest in change, because inter-
agency work is a difficult and time-intensive process. We found a strong involvement
of the police in such efforts. They are dissatisfied with their emergency protocol and
very uncertain of what would be an appropriate and useful course of action. They don‟t
have the time or the skills to counsel or offer help to the women, and they don‟t see any
sense in preparing for possible criminal proceedings, because they expect the case will
be dismissed by the public prosecutor. An integrated community response would help
them on both counts. They can work together with specialised social workers who can
offer support to women, and they can encourage the prosecutor to give cases of
domestic violence higher priority.

        Judges have been much less involved; they seem less able to recognise a
specific interest in co-operation. In such cases the first step has to be to awaken an
interest. One motivation can be the wish to help women and/or children. Another is the
hope for better, that is more reliable, more co-operative and useful witnesses. Judges
are interested in a good trial preparation of the women.

       These examples illustrate that building co-operative programmes is a process,
which grows from strong roots in local conditions and human resources. A national
programme, perhaps flanking the community efforts with necessary legal changes, can
be helpful, but might not be an effective way to steer these activities: they need to grow
from the bottom up.

        In Germany there are presently three large-scale projects (Kiel, Berlin, Hanover)
whose goal is a full-scale community intervention project. They aim to co-ordinate
short-term police response, women‟s advocacy counselling, and long-term civil
protection orders, and to link active criminal prosecution with court-mandated men‟s
programmes. It is clear that such programmes must be carefully crafted to ensure the
safety of women and their children. Although these projects often draw on models from
North America, they are much less oriented towards taking action quickly, and take
much more time to consider in advance the probable impact of each measure on
different groups or situations. They try to design the proposed measures so that
different institutions will complement and not controvert each other, and to ensure that
the women‟s safety and self-determination remain a top priority and do not get lost
from sight.

        The Berlin Intervention Project (BIG) is the largest and most ambitious of these
community networks. It was able to draw upon a variety of specialised support projects
for battered women in Berlin as well as on groups of profeminist men planning to work
with batterers. Berlin has 14 shelters for battered women and their children with space
for about 450 women and about the same number of children. There are 3 after-care
projects counselling women, one project that supports women in finding a new home
and two projects for men. 17 out of these 20 projects co-operate in BIG. In its first year
the round table brought together high-level representatives from all the relevant
departments and institutions, women‟s projects and shelters. They agreed on common
goals binding for all participants. Implementation is now being worked out in seven
working groups, in which more than 120 experts co-operate since 1996. Their work has
been mediated by five women employed as ”co-ordinators” of the project.

       After five years of planning, development, co-operation, and investment of
resources, concrete results could, at first glance, seem very modest. Some changes have
been made in police procedures, statistics are being collected more systematically, and
some new agencies are in a concrete planning stage. Yet despite procedural complexity
and slow progress towards actually changing intervention, the Berlin project is
experienced as extraordinarily successful. In a metropolis of some four million people,
strategically important institutions at the very top of governmental responsibility (such
as the ministerial levels of justice, of social affairs, of children and the family and of
women and work), the public prosecutors and police, and a great number of
representatives of services, advocacy and justice are publicly committed to bring about
change, and to do so, invest considerable time, resources and imagination as well as
agreeing to make unanimous decisions at the highest level.

         The seven working groups each draw together a mix of institutions with
statutory responsibilities, organisations from the volunteer and/or non-profit sector, and
committed individuals such as feminist lawyers, formerly battered women, or other
women‟s advocates. Their work is seen as a new and significant dialogue. Across the
lines of women vs. men, feminist vs. mainstream, legal sanctions vs. helping
professions, state agencies vs. volunteer groups, something like a new public sphere for
debate on addressing and ending gendered violence has been created. There seems to
be a consensus that the existence of such a cross-cutting public sphere is, in and of
itself, a step towards social transformation. The project has created an institutional and
social infrastructure, which defines domestic violence as a concern requiring public
debate and response. In doing so, it has redrawn the line separating private and public,
and is redefining the nature of the polis, the common good and the responsibilities of
good government.

       The success of community response projects requires skilled organisation
building to develop an inclusive co-operation network; this often means a pragmatic
search for the common denominator and well as strategic alliances. But success also
depends on people - people who are willing and able to develop what we are calling a
new professionalism. They combine a basis of specialised skills with an awareness of
the inevitable limits of each specialised profession, and the need to work together to
bring about social change. For at bottom, it is people who will end domestic violence,
because they - we - are no longer willing to tolerate it.

       Today, European countries and regions have widely varying experiences with
recognising and addressing domestic violence. The community approach can provide a
common platform for an interchange in which each contribution is equally valuable, for
it points to the need to mobilise resources on a local level, respecting different
circumstances and concrete possibilities, and calls on people to take responsibility for
change where they live and work: each of us can take steps toward the common goal.


                      Rapporteur: Ms Maryse JASPARD (France)

                       "We are exploited as sex objects, child-raisers,
                                drudges and cheap labour."
                      (Manifesto of the New York Red Stockings, 1969)

       I am speaking here as a university researcher responsible for the first nationwide
quantitative survey carried out in France - on a random sample representative of the
population as a whole3 - on violence against women. My work as part of a
multidisciplinary research team has led me to think in overall terms about ways of
perceiving the phenomenon of violence against women and its consequences. I am
going to try to share with you an approach suggesting lines of enquiry rather than
universal recipes, let alone results, even if certain points, mostly concerning methods,
are made clearer.

       Just a word about how much progress our survey has made: we are at the pilot
stage, a telephone survey4 on the basis of a 60-page closed questionnaire5 sent out to
400 women; an initial head-to-head interview with 250 women has shown that the
survey is acceptable and that women are interested in the subject.

I.     How can violence against women be defined?

        Before any subject can be discussed it must be defined. Today‟s subject is
domestic violence. We must therefore define, as far as possible, both the terms
"violence" and "domestic", and determine how they interact. The violence we are
trying to define here is not a conflict, in which there is interaction between two or more
persons, as in many domestic scenes. We see violence as part of a process of gaining
ascendancy over another person; it is based on a relationship of power or domination
between two or more persons. Violence stems from a person‟s desire to impose their
will on the other person, to dominate that person by means of humiliation or
degradation. The other person is harassed until he or she capitulates and submits. By
forging the principle of male domination and female inferiority, patriarchal societies
have engendered a specific type of violence against women. A society based on a
system of values linking maleness with virility, ie physical and mental strength,
toughness, impassiveness or vigour, while femaleness suggests fragility, gentleness,
reserve, sentimentality and intuition, inevitably produces violence against women. It is

       Cf appendix.
        By the Cati method (telephone and computer assisted collection), which has been used
for over 10 years for major statistical surveys on sensitive issues (sexuality, violence, etc).
       In a closed questionnaire, respondents answer yes or no to specific questions or choose
the most appropriate from a range of proposals.

logical that boys brought up according to these precepts should hold the "weaker" sex
in contempt, once they become adults, and act as dominant or even violent males
against young women ready to sacrifice their independence and their freedom on the
altar of love. Although this type of patriarchal society is currently in decline, at least
legally speaking, less pronounced forms of this model still exist; European mentalities
are still steeped in this set of attitudes. Moreover, transitions from one state to another
always engender tensions, and the adjustment to new ways of life or the formation of
new social relationships between the sexes takes place at different rates in different
social groups. While violence is present in all social environments, its specific form
varies. The type of violent act perpetrated is linked to cultural factors which, above
and beyond any hierarchical relationship between the sexes, reflect standards ingrained
in individuals and linked, for example, to their relationship with their bodies or with
language. The stigma which is attached to acts of violence depends on the extent to
which they deviate from the rules in force in the particular social group. That does not
mean to say that violent acts should be approved because they are a component of
traditional culture - as is the case, for example, of genital mutilation or arranged
marriages. References to tradition should not lend any legitimacy to practices
considered as criminal offences under international law. In the light of this, the
following definition, taken from the document produced by the Council of Europe's
Group of Specialists for Combating Violence against Women, seems very complete:
violent acts include “any act or emotional conduct by means of which physical, sexual
or mental suffering is inflicted, directly or indirectly, through deceit, seduction, threat,
coercion or any other means, on any woman with the purpose or effect of intimidating,
punishing or humiliating her or of maintaining her in sex-stereotyped roles or of
denying her human dignity, sexual self-determination, physical, mental and moral
integrity or of undermining the security of her person, her self-respect or her
personality, or of diminishing her physical or mental capacities” 6. This very broad
definition reflects the specific nature of violence against women very well and can be
applied regardless of country, culture or, more generally, social group. It also covers
the whole spectrum of violence. Violence may include physical brutality, sexual
violence or psychological harassment, but also all that is connected with domination or
abuse of power such as, for example, withholding civil status papers or income, or rape
by seduction. It is not possible to provide a full list of the types of psychological,
economic, physical or sexual violence since their perpetrators are highly imaginative.
Some of the accounts given by female victims are full of cruelty and torture that defy
understanding; victims can easily be accused of weakness or passiveness whereas, in
reality they have demonstrated endurance (a virile quality!) in order in many cases to
bear their suffering with dignity, with the sole aim - probably utopian and this is where
work has to be done - of protecting their home, their children, to their own detriment, in
the name of love. They sacrifice themselves. Is that not what has been ingrained in
them: preserving others? "Home-keeper", a mere "foil" serving to set off a man to
advantage, "good mother", "good wife" - all stereotyped ideas and expressions which
are not yet totally obsolete. There is still a long way to go before sexual equality is
achieved, especially since vulnerable, isolated and often economically dependent
persons are easy targets for violence.
        It is sometimes difficult to categorise violence: on one hand, violence is often a
continuum which includes all forms (insults, blows, sexual abuse), and on the other, the

        Final report of activities of the EG-S-VL, Group of Specialists for combating violence
against women (EG-S-VL), Council of Europe, Strasbourg, June 1997.

borderlines between the public and private spheres and the workplace are blurred; is
violence inflicted in the workplace by someone who is close to the victim "violence at
work" or "domestic violence"? This is a question not to be overlooked when violence
is being defined.

II.     Violence and women?

        I do not see any point in drawing up a list of types of violence. That can be
found in all publications. I shall instead focus on certain specific aspects. International
approaches to violence against women deal only with male violence. But we think
that, although male violence is in the majority, we should not overlook violence
perpetrated by women against themselves, against other women, against children and,
albeit rarely, against men. Some French feminist researchers have attempted to analyse
female violence, particularly in one recent work by a number of female historians and
anthropologists7. There is no doubt that female violence exists, mainly, but not only, in
patriarchal societies, such as the North African families described by Camille Lacoste-
Dujardin8 where women, as "boys' mothers", exercise absolute tyranny over their
daughters-in-law. There is also the case of the battered wives who were denied any
power but who tortured their children in order to "turn them into decent, upright
people", in the Greek village studied by Marie-Elisabeth Handman9. Whatever the
sociological or psychological analysis of this phenomenon - for example, whether it is
an effect of the "incorporation" by each sex of their status, as is claimed by Pierre
Bourdieu10 - there is no doubt that these forms of violence by women do exist and that
we should also try to eliminate them.

III.    Violence against women, domestic violence?

         So far we have focused on the social relationships between the sexes as a way of
explaining situations of violence, with the institution of the patriarchal family as the
linchpin. At first sight, one might feel somewhat uncomfortable about considering
only domestic violence directed against women whereas children may be the victims of
ill-treatment and sexual abuse within the family. Upon reflection, however, we can see
that it is vital to separate the different types of violence, violence against children and
violence against women, when seeking to identify explanatory factors and
consequences and, above all, discussing the social treatment of these types of violence.
Our analysis specifically tackles violence against women in the framework of intra-
family relations, of which conjugal violence (between married or unmarried partners,
whether or not they live together) is one of the best known aspects, being the origin of
the pejorative expression "battered wife". By women we mean women and girls "of
marriageable age", that somewhat vague dividing-line after which it is acceptable for

        DAUPHIN Cécile and FARGE Arlette (dir) De la violence et des femmes, Albin Michel,
Paris, 1997.
        LACOSTE-DUJARDIN Camille Des mères contre les femmes, La Découverte, Paris,
        HANDMAN Marie-Elisabeth La violence et la ruse, hommes et femmes dans un village
grec, Edisud, Aix-en-Provence, 1981.
        BOURDIEU Pierre La Domination masculine, Le Seuil, Paris, 1998.

girls to be able to marry - in some countries - or when they begin to have sex - in more
tolerant countries; in other words, when they reach sexual majority (around 15 to 18
years of age).

        But what is the family? Are there not many different kinds of family, and where
do family relations end? We adopt a very broad definition of the family unit: the
conjugal family with its possible recompositions, families extended to include all
relations including relations by marriage but also official or unofficial fiancés, lifelong
or short-term lovers, boyfriends and girlfriends; all these friends and relations are
potential sources of violence as many investigations have shown us. Nor should we
forget that the perpetrators of violence can include brothers and, more recently,
adolescents being violent to their own mothers.

IV.    Family or families? What exactly are we referring to?

        In order to understand the complexity of the contemporary family structure, in
as broad and diversified a framework as that of Europe, I have chosen - perhaps
because I am a demographer - to analyse the present by looking at the recent past and
by taking the example of France, a country with a strong family tradition. I shall go
back to the 1950s, the golden age of the family and marriage. The "Parsonian" 11 family
model crossed the Atlantic and, within the family unit, the division of male and female
roles was strongly marked: women were assigned to the private sphere, chastely
looking after the home and doing their breadwinner husbands proud. For girls
marriage was the only way of being accepted and moving ahead socially, the only way
of escaping the family circle and becoming an adult. Whereas many women became
aware of the sexual oppression to which they were subjected and refused to produce
child after child, many wives gave in to the sexual demands of their partners out of
weariness, sometimes with a feeling of shame if not disgust. Pre-conjugal sexual
relations were often forced on girls, torn between two fears: that of losing their fiancés
and that of getting pregnant, ie guilt.

         The situation was changed somewhat by these women's children. Children born
after World War II were to be the protagonists of the "contraceptive revolution" and the
transformation of relationships between men and women leading, by way of a chain
reaction, to major demographic developments: large numbers of women entering the
labour market (in the early 1960s), higher rates of divorce (1963), lower rates of
fertility (1964) and the decline of marriage (1973); more cohabitation, fewer prenuptial
conceptions, more extramarital births (in the early 1970s). Since most of the demand
for divorce came from women, once women gained financial independence,
separations were a possibility, becoming more frequent. Yet lower marriage rates
reflected not so much discontent with life in a couple as a rejection of the institution of
marriage since, at the same time, new forms of conjugal relationships came into being.

      In 1995, 90% of first unions began outside marriage and half of all first children
were born to unmarried couples; these consensual unions are often legitimised after a
few years and are also becoming more flexible. Conjugal patterns have grown more
complex: consensual cohabitation, separation, marriage, a new couple, a period of

       Named after Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist who analysed the American family
model in the 1950s.

living alone. Nonetheless, whereas the occurrence of a solitary lifestyle has increased
in certain age groups (in 1994, 11% of men and 20% of women aged 45 to 49 lived
without a partner), living in a couple - whether or not married - remains the most
common arrangement. All the more so since, as people live longer, the proportion of
"elderly" couples (ie both partners aged 60 years or more) has grown. This
phenomenon, which is often overlooked, must be borne in mind in any attempt to
arrive at an understanding of the phenomenon of conjugal violence, since here we are
dealing with generations where relationships between men and women remain very

        Another characteristic feature of the present day is the occasional (or sometimes
more permanent) trend among young couples to live together in the home of one or the
other's parents. This is a consequence of the difficulties young people have in finding a
job combined with a more permissive attitude towards adolescent sexuality. It should
be noted here that tolerance with regard to young people's relationships may have
undesirable effects for girls and be the source of domestic conflicts, possibly leading to
extremely serious violence. The reason is that this permissiveness does not apply to the
same extent to the two sexes: whereas, in the case of boys, a whole range of
experiences may be tolerated, girls face stricter attitudes.

        Is it possible to apply this pattern to all European countries? Yes and no, as
Louis Roussel suggests in a recent summary12, "When it comes to families, Europe is
something of a patchwork". If we look at some demographic indicators (see appended
table), the diversity of behaviour is quite striking: the number of first marriages per 100
women ranges from 95% in Slovakia to 45% in Sweden, and the percentage of divorces
and extramarital births varies from 5% to 50% from some southern and to some
northern European countries. There is a sharp contrast between north and south,
although in each case there are exceptions. The south remains attached to the
legitimacy of conjugal union, unlike the north. France is very close to the Nordic
countries whereas other western European countries are somewhere in between. The
situations in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are considerably different.

        Demographics indicators are not enough to explain the complexity of the family
"unit". Some family sociologists13 have recently highlighted the fact that, while the
conjugal family is in decline, family networks and solidarity between the generations
and even between collaterals are becoming stronger. Individuals will probably acquire
bigger networks of relatives, especially as a result of family recomposition. At the
same time, for the less well-off, the socially excluded and recent immigrants, emotional
isolation is also on the increase. The two-speed society which is developing in
economic terms (with rising unemployment) is also now on the way to becoming a
relational phenomenon, what Robert Castel calls "disaffiliation" 14. This process hits
hardest immigrant women and women bringing up their children alone. Economically,
single-parent families are more disadvantaged and their isolation is a result of the place
they are given in society.

       INED Populations, l'état des connaissances, La Découverte, Paris, 1998.
       DE SINGLY François (dir) La famille, l’état des savoirs, La Découverte, Paris, 1991.
       CASTEL Robert De l'indigence à l'exclusion: la désaffiliation in "Face à l'exclusion. Le
modèle français", Ed. Esprit, Paris, 1991.

        Even so, the family, regardless of its composition or recomposition, remains the
basic unit of our western society. The outcry and controversy aroused by the PACS
(civil solidarity pact) Bill15 in France at the moment is a perfect illustration of the
institution's endurance.

        The inhibiting, castrating and inward-looking conjugal family against which its
own children revolted in the 1960s has not completely disappeared, in particular as a
result of longer life expectancy, and it has had after-effects on the generations
concerned. It has gradually been replaced by a more consensual, contractual and
egalitarian model, but a model that is not as idyllic as one might like to think.
Nevertheless, the family remains the place for intimacy and privacy, and hence also for
secrecy and for keeping things hidden from the outside world. In the family you can be
yourself but you also bring your sufferings, frustrations and disappointments. "For
better or for worse", to quote the highly poignant and ambiguous (to say the least)
phrase uttered to seal marriage. There is no need to refer to the patriarchal family and,
within it, the sacrosanct paternal authority to appreciate the reality and the danger of
this for the most vulnerable members, who are often emotionally and economically

        As we reach the end of the 20th century, the favourable conditions for an
effective transformation of social relationships between the sexes are in place: the
widespread availability of safe, medical contraceptive methods, higher levels of
education among women, changes in civil law. Now that they have won both their
material and their legal independence and have full control over reproduction, women
no longer see their future as being dependent on marriage. Couples are formed on a
mutually agreed, egalitarian basis, but the sexual images of family and love life confuse
this quest for harmony, leading to dysfunction, and violence may result.

        The newspapers are full of stories about crime within the family circle. By
definition, crimes of passion are perpetrated on those close to the criminal. As Annik
Houel and others write: "the profile of the couples (involved in such crimes) which
emerges from the various accounts is strongly marked by a traditional view of the roles
assigned to each sex."16 Murderers and batterers are more often than not known to
their victims, and surveys on sexuality have shown that those who commit acts of
sexual coercion tend to be acquaintances if not close relatives of their victims.
V.      Statistics on domestic violence

       If statistics are kept on specific types of violence - whereas that was seldom the
case previously - that is because they are considered to be a social phenomenon and are
therefore dealt with as such. Now that awareness has been raised and taboos lifted,
more and more of these violent acts are being reported. That does not mean that the
phenomenon itself is on the increase. We even think that the opposite may be true:

        The PACS is currently being debated in the National Assembly: two persons (regardless
of their sex and, possibly, their family relationship) may sign an officially recognised contract
enabling them to acquire all the rights and duties of married persons concerning property, taxes
and inheritance; the contract may be terminated by way of an administrative decision.
       HOUEL Annick et al Bats ta femme tous les matins. Not yet published.

speaking about these forms of violence may actually lead to a real reduction; since this
violence has been acknowledged to be harmful both for the individual and society, it is
no longer tolerable. Now that this violence is seen to violate the standards established
by society, it is easier to report it.

        In France, as in many countries, the available statistics refer only to reported
acts of violence: the Ministry of Justice provides data on offenders, the Ministry of the
Interior keeps figures on the number of reported rapes or attacks, the ODAS
(Observatoire national de l'action sociale - the decentralised National Social Action
Observatory) produces statistics on cases of child victims of ill-treatment or sexual
abuse reported to it; organisations which listen to, take in or assist victims are perfectly
aware of the violence experienced by those who turn to them for help, but have no real
idea of the full extent of these phenomena in the community at large. Some
quantitative surveys have included questions on violence. When compared, their
findings show how hard it is to analyse a subject not central to research and how
carefully this data must be used.

       The patchiness and unreliability of statistical data hinder official measures to
prevent violence. As long as we know nothing about the real extent of such a sensitive
and elusive social phenomenon, any attempt to quantify it will be controversial. On the
other hand, once we have reliable assessments to hand, the debate switches from a
controversy over figures to analysis of the processes and how the phenomenon can be
prevented. Domestic violence is currently at this stage of public awareness raising.

         So far, to my knowledge, few countries (see appendix) have conducted national
statistical surveys on violence against women, but those that have have come up with
some useful facts and figures. Despite differences in approach or slightly different
definitions of violence, their findings are not dissimilar: the percentage of women who
have been the victims of physical and sexual violence committed by their spouse or
partner - or former spouse or partner - at some time in their lives is estimated at 29% in
Canada, 28% in the United States (1985), and 25% in Switzerland; over the previous
12 months, the proportion ranges from 3% (Canada) to 11% (United States), with the
figure for Switzerland at 6%17. The frequency is higher for young women. Divorced
or separated women more often claim to have been victims of violence, but that does
not mean that they are really more frequently victims than others. Indeed, the women
conducting the Dutch survey18 noted that women found it easier to recount events

        - BRUSH L.D. Violent acts and injurious outcomes in married couples: methodological
issues in the national survey of families and households, "Gender and Society" 4:56-67, 1990.
        - RODGERS K. Résultats d'une enquête nationale sur l'agression contre la conjointe.
Juristat, Bulletin de service 14: 1.21. 1994.
      - Statistique Canada L'enquête sur la violence envers les femmes. Le Quotidien, 1-9
18 November 1993.
       - STRAUSS MA, GELLES RJ. Societal change and change in family violence from
1975 to 1985 as revealed by two national surveys. Journal of Marriage and the Family 48: 465-
479, 1986.
       - GILLIOZ Lucienne et al. Domination et violence envers la femme dans le couple Payot,
Lausanne, 1997.
       RÖMKENS Renée Consequences of wife-abuse and the risks of post-traumatic stress
which they recognised as belonging to the past, while women currently living with a
violent companion tended to play down or deny the situation. While pregnancy is often
regarded as a vulnerable period, "conducive" to violent episodes in couples or to their
intensification, the available data do not make it possible to establish clearly the
veracity of that hypothesis19. In many cases, we may observe the repetition of violence
against the same women, particularly when sexual violence is involved.

        Consequences of violence have been measured mainly in terms of health by
epidemiological surveys or by statistics produced by health care systems. Physical
violence may have direct consequences that vary according to the intensity of the blows
received: broken bones, sprains or bruises. The consequences in terms of mental health
are quite well known: women who are victims of violence very often suffer from
psychosomatic and depressive complaints and are more likely to attempt suicide; these
effects may be long-term, in particular for women who underwent violence as children.
The Dutch survey highlighted what the authors call "chronic victimisation". This
phenomenon manifests itself in two ways: either amnesia of violence and social
isolation, and total suppression of emotion or, on the contrary, a constant harking back
to the traumatic situations, leading to psychological disorders.

        While the perpetrators of violence often abuse alcohol - or other substances such
as illegal or psychotropic drugs - the use of these substances is not the direct cause of
violence. Furthermore, the victims themselves may resort to this type of substance to
quell their anguish and fear. In the United States, it has been estimated that the
consequences of domestic violence account for 21,000 hospitalisations and 39,900
medical consultations every year (quoted by Randall, 1990).

VI.    Barriers to reporting domestic violence

        Despite the arrangements for making it easier for victims to speak out, a good
many of them are still unable to express their trauma and, even less, to denounce their
aggressors. Victims are even less likely to do so when they depend on the persons
responsible for their suffering or feel close to them. Women living with violent men
tend to deny the situation, sometimes because they sincerely believe that things will
improve, but also because they cannot confess that they have undergone violence
because that implies acquiescence to it: shame, guilt and often fear, especially the fear
that their children might be taken away, makes them conceal their suffering. The
situation is compounded by other factors such as a desire to protect the home or
children, or love for a partner for whom excuses are made. Distrust of social workers
(stronger than in a survey situation since those conducting surveys are supposed to be
neutral) is also a major hurdle: women are afraid of being judged or of admitting a
failure which they hope to put right. In addition, violence, especially conjugal
violence, takes place in a well-known cycle: tension-assault-remission, and victims
report violence at particular stages in this cycle.

disorder, The Netherlands.
       - SAUREL-CUBIZOLLES Marie-Josèphe et al; Violence conjugale après une naissance
Contracept Fertil Sex 25: 159-164, 1997.
       - GELLES R.J. Violence and pregnancy : are pregnant women at greater risk of abuse?;
Journal of Marriage and the Famil" 50: 841-847, 1988.

        The denial of conjugal violence may also be a result of how women see their
position within the family and society and how they expect their partner to treat them.
Not all women have joined the feminists in denouncing the institution of marriage, the
oppression of women and their sexual exploitation, and in demanding control over their
own bodies. If the notion of rape in marriage is to be effectively recognised, we must
erase from women‟s mentalities the notions of female frigidity and irrepressible male
desire, and the idea of giving one‟s body out of love.

        If violence is to be reported, it must be recognised as such. It is vital to do
everything to make victims aware that their situation is wrong. Women undergoing
psychological harassment find it hard to come to terms with this. The problem is even
more delicate in the case of women still governed by tradition. In social groups where
a traditional patriarchal culture is still strongly anchored, eg recent immigrant
communities of North African origin, girls at the crossroads of two cultures, the culture
of their family of origin and the culture at the school, face major difficulties. This
culture clash concerning the place of men and women in society and the principles on
which the family is founded weighs heavily on the individual and on the desire of the
young people born in these immigrant communities to live their own lives and build a
family. But the difficulties encountered differ from one sex to the other; this in itself
makes misunderstandings more likely, and increases the likelihood of violence against
women seeking to shake off the family yoke. Brothers are often given the task of
supervising their sisters. This phenomenon is particularly strong in the case of
immigrant women, but it also exists in certain countries with a large "traditional" rural
population where the dissemination of contemporary lifestyles by television may make
girls brought up in the patriarchal tradition feel frustrated or rebellious and turn them
into potential victims of family violence. Arranged marriages, kidnappings, and even
forced abortions or abandonment of children are some examples of unacceptable forms
of violence still commonplace in France, and the law cannot always intervene to defuse
these tragedies. A certain form of exploitation which may, in extreme cases, be likened
to slavery, including sexual slavery, of immigrant girls may arise even within extended
families in the host country.

        Economic dependence and, therefore, the assumed inability to manage by
oneself, and the fear of losing children are real factors in the denial of conjugal
violence, but they are perhaps not the main ones since economically independent
women also suffer conjugal violence, the result of psychological degradation and
harassment, which in turn lead to loss of self-esteem. Once the process is set in motion
it is difficult for either group to put a stop to it; the economically vulnerable pay the
price by being subjected to physical violence and turning in on themselves;
independent women may see their situation deteriorate to the point of losing their jobs
and therefore their freedom. Mental wounds, often incurable, and physical wounds,
often left untreated, are the common lot of these women, and their children can only
suffer from this painful situation.

VII.   Domestic violence: public intervention and protection of privacy?

       The issue of domestic violence raises the question of the position of the family
in the private or public sphere. The debate revolves around two sets of alternatives:
private/public, and individual/family institution. At present, individuals in western
democracies are constantly torn between two conflicting attitudes: withdrawing into the
private sphere or having recourse to the public sphere, and to guarantee the material
and non-material security of their citizens, states adopt an interventionist stance.
Should individuals be dealt with in isolation from their family context and be left alone
to face the power of the state, the judiciary, the medical profession or the social
services? On the other hand, should individuals be left alone in the closed universe of a
family which protects but controls and which may be excessively authoritarian? It
would appear vital to interlink family policy and the issue of domestic violence since,
as Jacques Commaille says, "A family policy that greatly elevates the notion of privacy
makes it harder to come up with a public policy for dealing with domestic violence." 20
In France, civil law has encouraged the autonomy of individuals in their private space
to the detriment of the family structure. In the case of the most vulnerable members of
society there is a certain "price to pay" for this individual freedom, and they therefore
become reliant on state protection. Intervention by the state, and hence its control over
the most disadvantaged women and children through the social services, are making
themselves increasingly felt. Furthermore, in the upheavals facing the family as an
institution, biological children seem to represent the last remaining element of
stability21. There is a great risk of turning children into the pivot of family dramas at
the expense of women, who, at one and the same time, are victims and feel guilt
towards their children.

        Nor should we neglect the role of the media, which may be positive when
drawing attention to the phenomenon of violence and informing victims of the various
forms of assistance and the remedies available to them, as that may enable them to
break down the wall of silence. Their role is more ambivalent where the use of news
stories is concerned since, while it may help to raise public awareness of these issues, it
can also, by conveying unbearable images of drama, provoke a good deal of emotion
and trigger a collective outburst of irrational fears, with the risk of turning criminals
into a kind of scapegoat by focusing our fear and aggressiveness on them. This works
to the detriment of personal experiences of violence by drawing attention away to a
distant target while pushing the suffering itself into the background. The fight against
domestic violence calls for the restoration of social links and respect for women - the
"other" - as people, something that is possible if we continually educate - in the
broadest sense - adults and children alike.

       In Violence en famille "Les Cahiers de la sécurité intérieure" No. 28, 1997.
        THERY Irène, Couple, filiation et parenté aujourd'hui. Le droit face au mutations de la
famille et de la vie privée, Odile Jacob, Paris, 1998.

                                   APPENDIX 1

                    Family Data, 1993 (in italics, Pre-1993 Data)*

                         Fertility      Marriage rate     Divorce rate      Extra-
                    (average number         (first        (divorces per     marital
                     of children per    marriages per    100 marriages)   births (per
                         woman)          100 women)                       100 births)
Denmark                    1.75               60               42            47
Finland                    1.82               58               43            30
Iceland                    2.22               49               39            58
Norway                     1.82               47               40            44
Sweden                     2.00               45               46            50
Western Europe
Germany                    1.28               56              28             15
Austria                    1.48               56              34             26
Belgium                    1.62               61              33             13
France                     1.65               50              33             35
Ireland                    1.93               67           prohibited        20
Luxembourg                 1.70               65              35             13
Netherlands                1.58               60              30             13
United Kingdom1            1.76               64              44             32
Switzerland                1.48               67              37             6
Greece                     1.34               74               12            3
Italy                      1.21               66               7             7
Portugal                   1.46               81                             17
Spain                      1.24               66                             11
Eastern Europe
Albania                    3.00               82               11
Bulgaria                   1.46               61               11            19
Croatia                    1.50               62               14            8
Hungary                    1.69               60               30            16
Poland                     1.85               68               11            8
Romania                    1.44               79               18            17
Czech Republic             1.67               65               34            11
Slovakia                   1.92               95               20            9
Slovenia                   1.31               52               17            28
former USSR
Belarus                    1.75                                37            9
Estonia                    1.45               69               46            38
Latvia                     1.51               58                             23
Lithuania                  1.67                                37            9
Moldova                    2.10                                33            11
Russia                     1.36               81               49            17
Ukraine                    1.55                                40            12
     England and Wales
Source: INDE, Council of Europe
*       cf reference 10

                                    APPENDIX 2

                            National statistical surveys on
                  violence (domestic and conjugal) against women*

In the United States:

Survey on domestic violence (women and children) conducted in 1975 on 2,143
families and updated in 1985 on 3,250 families.
Questions included in a more general survey of families and households carried out in
1988; sample of 5,474 respondents, men and women, married and living in a couple.

In the Netherlands:

National survey on violence against women carried out in 1986 on a sample of 1,016
women aged 20 to 60 years.

In Canada:

National survey on violence against women carried out in 1993 by telephone on
12,300 women aged 18 or more.

In Switzerland:

National survey on domination of and violence against women within the couple, carried
out in 1995. It included a quantitative survey (by telephone) on a sample of 1,500 women
living in couples, and a qualitative study, by means of interviews with 30 women who had
been victims of violence.

In France:

National survey on violence against women, collected by telephone, planned for 1999, on
a sample of 5,000 women aged 20 to 59 years and living in mainland France.

* These are the surveys of which I have knowledge to date.


                      Rapporteur: Ms Astrid KECKEIS (Austria)

I.     Introduction

        Violence against women is not a side issue in the quest for the empowerment of
women and gender equality. Gender-based violence maims women, robs them of their
dignity, their self-esteem, their health, and discourages them from trusting in and
building relationships, a loss that is felt by society as a whole. While women in all
societies are at risk of violence - and we do not have adequate data to realise the extent
of the problem - some groups of women are especially vulnerable.

          Violence against women is not only an individual problem, but also a social one,
as violence against women is deeply embedded in the social structures of the
patriarchal system. Violence does not constitute any disorder or dysfunction, but it
certainly does conform with the system and contributes to the functioning of a society
in which the dominance of the male members and the subordination of the female ones
is still the norm.

       Every woman can be subjected to male violence. It affects women of all age
groups, social stratas and cultures. 90% of all acts of violence occur within the family
and the close social environment. Women and children are nearly always the victims.
Husbands, spouses, fathers and step-fathers are the offenders. According to studies,
every fifth woman in Austria has had an experience of violence within relationships.
The number of unreported cases is high. The authors of pertinent studies estimate that
for every reported case of violence against women there are five to ten that go
unreported. Children who grow up in relationships with parents or couples that are
marked by violence are also directly or indirectly affected. Surveys have shown that in
approximately 70% of acts of violence in the family, children are also subjected to
physical acts of violence.

       For many years in Austria there has been a broad political and social consensus to
combat violence against women and children and to counteract this problem with
numerous measures. Like her predecessors, the Austrian Minister for Women's Affairs and
Consumer Protection has launched a large number of initiatives in order to gain an
overview of the phenomenon of violence in its entirety and to include it within the terms of
"gender mainstreaming" in national and international policies.

II.    Integrated measures to assist and support victims

        A broad public discussion and reflection process on domestic violence,
prompted by an initiative of the then Minister for Women‟s Affairs, had already taken
off in the early 90s.

       The first steps were public education programmes and advocacy campaigns to
address values, attitudes and actions related to violence against women within our
society. In addition, all occupational and professional groups confronted with domestic
violence against women and children, such as teachers, psychologists, social workers,
police officers, judges and members of the medical professions, were involved.

       1.   Platform Against Domestic Violence

       In 1993, the Government set up a "Platform Against Domestic Violence" to step
up the integration of efforts made by public authorities, by various facilities created to
combat violence, such as child protection centres, youth centres, or women‟s refuges,
and by professional groups confronted with domestic violence. The exchange of
information and experience gathered from models and projects was expected to enable
those concerned to deal more effectively with violence against women and children.

       2.   Public campaigns and distribution of information material

       At the request, and with the financial support, of the Minister for Women‟s
Affairs, a comprehensive, modular information kit called "Counteracting Violence
against Women and Children" was produced in 1993. The kit was distributed free of
charge to occupational and professional groups, as well as to NGOs involved in
combating and alleviating the consequences of violence against women and children.
For the first time, harmonised education and training material was available to various
sectors of society.

       In 1998 this information material was published in an updated and reviewed
edition and covered the topics of "Counteracting Violence Against Women",
"Counteracting Violence Against Children" and "Counteracting Sexual Violence
Against Girls and Boys".

      In order to give special attention to the problem of violence in the everyday life
of handicapped persons, two further surveys were conducted ["Because This Hurts
With Violence. Sexual Exploitation of Handicapped Girls and Women" (1996);
"Sexualised Violence in the Everyday Life of Handicapped Persons. Handicapped Boys
and Men as Victims and Offenders" (1997)].

       The above-mentioned material gives an overview of the academic knowledge
about the causes, consequences and mechanisms particular to domestic violence as well
as useful practical information on how to identify and to deal with violence, how to
responsibly address the phenomenon and how to deal with both victims and
perpetrators; in addition it informs about anti-violence focal points.

       3.   Training programmes and interdisciplinary seminars

       Training programmes for situations of domestic violence were first offered to
police officers in 1988/1989, funded by the Ministry of the Interior. In 1993, these
programmes, which had been run as pilot projects, were integrated into the initial
training courses of police cadets. Since 1995, two-day seminars on the issue of
domestic violence are a mandatory part of the initial training of law enforcement
personnel throughout Austria.

       In 1997, a number of additional interdisciplinary seminars, funded by the
Minister for Women's Affairs, were organised for an exchange of views and increased
co-operation among individual occupational and professional groups. These seminars
are now especially directed towards the judicial professions, judges and public

       The purpose of these seminars is to share theoretical and practical knowledge
about the causes and consequences of violence, to sensitise participants to the special
problems of the women and children concerned, to teach crisis intervention strategies
and mediation skills and to show participants how to broaden their own scope of action.

       Trainers of these courses are not part of the law enforcement personnel, they are
enlisted from non-governmental organisations, e.g. the Austrian Women's Shelter
Network, which is especially geared at combating violence against women and children
within the family. The co-operation of these services with the governmental machinery
has thus proved very successful.

       In the past, the constitutional doctrine of the inviolability of privacy has in fact
been misused to create a no-go area for violent offenders largely exempt from legal or
social controls. Originally under a total taboo of silence, the phenomenon of domestic
violence has long been underestimated. As information has been made more widely
available and society has become - not least through the above-mentioned major anti-
violence campaigns - aware of the extent to which women and children are subject to
private physical and mental violence perpetrated by husbands, common-law husbands
or fathers, the next step in this consistent Austrian anti-violence policy was logical. It
was definitely a milestone.

       4.   "Law for protection against violence in the family"

        At the initiative of the Minister for Women's Affairs and the Ministry of the
Interior a decisive step against domestic violence, and in particular violence against
women, was taken by launching the "Law for Protection against Violence in the
Family" (Protection against Violence Act), which became effective on May 1, 1997.
This legislation created new structures: notably, it improves co-operation with courts
and the police in cases of violent incidents within a family and gives law enforcement
personnel additional powers to intervene where violence occurs in families.

        Most importantly, the Act empowers the judicial, as well as the law enforcement
personnel, to ban violent persons from the family home. A law enforcement officer can
order a person who constitutes a danger to other people to move out of the family home
immediately and to leave the neighbourhood, and he/she can also immediately issue a
prohibition for the offender to return for up to seven days, if the law enforcement
officer has reason to suspect that a dangerous assault is imminent.

       This ban may be prolonged for up to two weeks by a judicial injunction; during
this period the court may decide to prolong the prohibition to return for up to three
months. The judicial injunction protects all family members from violence within the
family if they live together with the violent member in the family home or have lived
together within the last three months. When a divorce petition is filed, the injunction

can act up to the end of the proceedings. The judicial injunction can be filed for, even
without prior intervention by the police.

       The ban not only orders an offender to leave the family home, but orders him to
keep away from certain other specified places, such as kindergartens, schools, the
victim's workplace and the like. An offender must refrain from any attempt to meet or
contact the victim(s).

      If the offender, in contravention of the ban, returns to the home or the
neighbourhood, an administrative fine is imposed; if he disregards the ban repeatedly,
he may be imprisoned.

       From May 1997 to April 1998 1,992 bans and prohibitions to return were issued
by executive authorities throughout Austria. 191 administrative criminal proceedings
were instituted because of breaches of the prohibition to return and in the same period
292 judicial injunctions were filed for under the new law.

        The Act represents a fundamental change of philosophy with regard to the
relationship between violent offenders and their victims, and there is already successful
proof that it stimulates a far-reaching process of rethinking among officials, especially
law enforcement personnel, and the public.

         Up until now, women were fleeing from their homes to escape violence, often
without being able to protect their children. The victims often lost or were under
sincere threat to lose their economic base and their livelihoods. The Act makes it clear
that it is always the person resorting to violence who is answerable for it. The offenders
rather than the victims must be made to bear the consequences. The victims are entitled
to protection, sympathy, security and help.

       5.   Intervention agencies as support measures

       For the first time, support measures have been devised to ensure the effective
co-operation between law enforcement agencies and civil courts, and to ensure
intensive co-operation with private victim protection facilities.

       As a co-ordination and support instrument to implement the Protection against
Violence Act successfully, intervention agencies have been set up. The first
intervention agency against violence was established in the year 1996 on the initiative
of the then Minister for Women's Affairs. Intervention agencies were set up in four
further provincial capitals through co-financing of the Minister for Women's Affairs
and the Minister of the Interior.

       A principal task of these intervention agencies is to act as pivotal and
networking points for all the institutions having to deal with domestic violence but
especially to support the victims in obtaining help, security and safety during the
administrative and judicial process.

       The fundamental strategy underlying the work of these services is based on
quick and co-ordinated co-operation between all organisations and persons involved in
a case of domestic violence. The intervention agencies provide counselling and support
to victims and help them with legal questions. They play a co-ordinating role between
the police and other law enforcement agencies, the courts and other institutions offering
help (women shelter‟s, women counselling centres, etc.), and, in particular, they aim at
preventing further acts of violence. This kind of work includes accompanying victims
to questioning and court hearings.

       In addition to the comprehensive and successful introduction of the Protection
against Violence Act, further measures will be taken by the Austrian government which
aim at preventing and curbing violence. The establishment of two further intervention
agencies is planned for 1999 in order to ensure comprehensive counselling coverage
throughout Austria.

       6.   Advisory Council for violence prevention

        Early in 1997, an advisory council for the basic issue of violence prevention was
set up at the Ministry of the Interior. The council consists of government
representatives and NGOs; its task is to advise the government on programmes on
violence prevention but also on the development of general strategies for a more
effective co-operation among police authorities and facilities for the protection of

       7.   25-point action plan

        In September 1997, the Government adopted a 25-point action plan for the
consolidation and further development of previous and future measures and
programmes for combating violence against women and children. This action plan was
initiated by five members of government, the Minister for Women's Affairs and
Consumer Protection, the Minister for the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs, the
Minister for Education and Cultural Affairs, the Minister of the Interior and the
Minister for Justice and sets the tasks of the future anti-violence policy.

      The following measures are included in the 25-point action plan in order to
combat domestic violence:

      Expanding the protection of victims:

-      by setting up further intervention agencies;

-      by housing victims in shared flats under the care of specially trained teachers;

-      by providing rehabilitation facilities and placement in therapeutic programmes;

-      by providing nation-wide tailor-made women and family counselling centres for
       women and families, emergency telephone numbers and homes for battered

-      by setting up central abuse reporting points within the youth welfare

-      by drawing up a curriculum for the further training of medical personnel;
-      by optimising statutory mandates to act (duty to observe secrecy, duty to report
       an offence, authority to report an offence) for different professional groups
       confronted with violence;

-      by supporting children and persons of their trust through criminal procedures.

      Working with offenders:

-      developing and promoting offender-related measures against violence and
       setting up special "anti-violence centres";

-      drafting programmes and model projects for conflict training and "anti- violence
       training" for persons inclined to violence.

      Training and research:

-      promoting methods and models of non-violent education in the field of "parent

-      intensifying the training of police and other law enforcement personnel, public
       prosecutors, judges, teachers, social workers, nursery-school         teachers,
       therapists, experts in leisure and social education;

-      reviewing the effects of the Protection against Violence Act, employing
       methods of empirical social research and drawing on national and international
       experience in dealing with offenders and persons inclined to violence.

      Sensitising and networking:

-      carrying out public anti-violence information campaigns;

-      reinforcing the networking of governmental and non-governmental agencies
       involved in prevention, intervention and post-intervention at the regional,
       national and international levels.

       For many years the Austrian Minister for Women's Affairs and Consumer
Protection has been promoting the establishment and expansion of facilities which offer
affected women and children protection in acute situations and gratuitous counselling
and information. In the entire territory of Austria, the Ministry currently supports 31
counselling centres for women, 5 out of a total of 11 emergency telephone numbers and
11 out of a total of 21 homes for battered women.

       A relatively new project on the topic of "Support for victims of sexual violence
through criminal procedures" is carried out by the association TAMAR which aims at
counteracting a secondary victimisation of the victims in criminal proceedings.

III.   Résumé

        During the last years, much has been done to combat violence against women.
In particular the law for protection against violence and the thus concomitant intensive
co-operation of executive authorities and NGOs have proved to be very effective in the
past and represent a very strong improvement concerning the protection and security of
victims of violence in the family.

        However, experience has shown that the new law still has a number of flaws and
that amendments are necessary. In cases of serious violence, bans and judicial
injunctions have often proved to be inadequate. In the area of judicial injunctions, the
protection from violence is linked too strongly with deadlines and proceedings.
Consequently, it is not possible in some cases to ensure that the protection for the
victims will continue for the time during which the violence continues.
        In order to combat domestic violence efficiently, we need more and better data
on gender-based violence, we need more research on the impact of our strategies, we
need more resources to combat violence against women. We need to bring about a
profound change in public attitudes, we have to show perpetrators that violence is
unacceptable and we have to reassure victims. We have to recognise the
interrelationship of violence with other areas of discrimination, and we have to ensure
women's economic and social empowerment as a means to curb violence.


                       Rapporteur: Mr Per ISDAL (Norway)

I.     Violence against women

       Violence against women is a major health problem. Research has found a very
high frequency of violence within the frame of intimate relationships. In the USA,
research has given variable frequency of violence against women, varying from 5% to
25%. Norway has a population of 4 million, and research has estimated that each year
10,000 Norwegian women seek medical treatment because of physical damage due to
domestic violence. We estimate that 10% of the Norwegian male population who live
in some kind of a relationship with a woman will use some kind of physical violence
against her.

       50% of all women killed in the western world are killed by their husband or
partner. In Russia 13,000 women are killed each year, mostly by husbands or
boyfriends. As a comparison, 14,000 Russians were killed during the war in
Afghanistan, which lasted for 10 years.

       The frequency of violence against women has great cultural variations; for
example it is estimated that 99% of all married women in Pakistan are victims of
violence from their husbands. The frequency of violence is dependent on the level of
women‟s rights and equality within each country. The most important way to fight
violence against women is the fight for equal rights and opportunities for women. A
difference in power creates violence, because violence is a way to create and maintain
power difference.

       Research has also documented the severe and long-lasting consequences of
violence and suppression. There is a very strong connection between the experience of
violence and abuse on the one side, and psychological symptoms or disorders on the
other side. Modern, gender-oriented psychologists will understand power, violence,
suppression and abuse as the main causes of psychological problems, and see
individual symptoms as a way of coping with power and abuse of this kind.

        The violence against women and children constitutes a major health problem,
and must be fought. How you choose to approach a problem is a question of beliefs and
priorities. When it comes to violence against women, the priority should of course be
to help and protect women and children, which means for example to establish crisis-
centres for abused women, to give women economical and social possibilities for
independence, and to change the priorities of the legal system so that they actually
protect women and children.

       Protecting and helping victims or potential victims is not enough to stop
violence and abuse. In fighting against violence we will have to address the violent
man. It must be important to develop agencies for men to help them stop their violence,

domination and abuse. I believe in the necessity of establishing treatment centres for
violent men.

       Treatment centres for men are important because:

1.     The violence continues: Even if we help the woman, the violence will continue
       if she stays in or goes back to the same relationship. If she leaves the man, he
       will have a tendency to follow her and continue his violence towards her. Most
       of the women killed by their husbands, are killed when they try to separate or
       divorce. If he leaves her alone, he can meet a new woman and continue his
       violence in the new relationship. In order to stop men‟s violence you have to do
       something with the man.

2.     Existing interventions are not enough: Police, the court system and the prison
       system has never been effective in stopping men‟s violence against women. In
       some ways, we can say that these structures have supported men‟s violence,
       overlooking the violence, normalising it and blaming the women. Help to
       victims is not enough in order to stop violence. Society, its legal system and
       psychology/psychiatry has a long history of not reacting to the suppression of
       women, concealing the violence, normalising it and re-defining it to be a female
       responsibility. Many couples in which the man uses violence against the
       woman have probably sought family therapy, and family therapy has probably
       heightened the risk of violence and helped the man to keep the woman within
       the destructive relationship.

3.     Men and the male culture are the source of violence and we have to go to the

4.     Men are not happy with their violence, and even the violent offender tends to
       suffer from his violence, which is often behaviour that he does not understand
       and does not manage to control even if he would like to stop it.

II.    Treatment of violent men

       Prevention of violence against women is the aim. Prevention must be done on
many levels and with many means. As mentioned earlier, equality between the sexes
must be the most important means to fight violence against women. If we want to
prevent violence against women, we have to know something about this violence.
Violence against women is a common problem among all kinds of men, on all levels of
society. Most of this violence is never reported to the police or to other social
agencies. Violence against women is characterised by its invisibility.

       Punishment is a potentially preventive strategy. We will have to learn from
history that punishment is not an effective solution to major health problems. And it
can be very destructive if this is to be the only strategy. Still I believe that violence
against women should be punished in the same way as all other forms of violence.
Treatment should not become an alternative to punishment, but rather another
possibility to prevent violence.

        In Norway we chose to establish a treatment centre for men based on self-
referrals in order to specifically reach the great amount of violence which never comes
in contact with our legal system.

        “Alternative to Violence” is a research and treatment centre for men who act
violently or abusively towards their wives or partners. Situated in Norway (Oslo and
Drammen) it started its work in 1987 as the first European centre of its kind.
“Alternative to Violence” is financed 20% by payment from the clients, 40% by the
city of Oslo, and 40% by the social department of Norway. Our organisation employs
at the present time 8 psychologists and aims at offering qualified professional help
through skilled psychotherapists.

       Our centre has a pro-feministic ideology. This ideology implies that we see
violent and abusive behaviour from men against women as behaviour that aims at
getting or maintaining power within the relationship, but which also aims at coping
with a feeling of powerlessness within the man himself.

        “Alternative to Violence” is an offer to men who want help, so it is based on
self-referrals, but we also receive a small portion of clients who have to attend the
therapy from, for example, child protection or the courts.

       “Alternative to violence” aims its work at 3 main areas:

      Treatment, both individually and in groups ;
      Research, psychological or sociological, and
      Education, for professionals and for the public in general.

       Since the start in 1987, 1,700 men have contacted “Alternative to violence” for
help. Each year we receive more than 200 new clients.

       First we offer our client a 3-hour assessment, which is an evaluation of his
violence and his motivation for therapy. Most of our clients are not properly motivated
for therapy if we understand motivation as a wish to change them. The therapist‟s
main aim is to work in a way that creates this kind of motivation.

       After the period of assessment we start the therapeutic period. This period can
vary from 10 hours up to 1 hour each week for 4 years. Our clients are understood as
individuals and their need for therapy varies a lot, so the therapeutic work has to be
individually designed.

        We offer both the opportunity for individual therapy or for group therapy.
Group therapy in our experience is the best, most effective, method for most of our

       Our most important and difficult task is to get the man to view his violent
behaviour as a problem, and a problem for which only he has the responsibility. Our
therapeutic style is characterised by being very active and structured, but of course also
empathic and non-judgmental. We have 4 main therapeutic principles, and these
principles also describe the therapeutic progression.

       Our first principle is to focus on his violence. This means talking about the
violence in detail. It means reconstructing the violent events piece by piece. Helping
the man to relate to his own violence, and to understand the severity of his problems.

       Our second principle is to place responsibility on the man for his actions,
helping him to understand that violence and dominance is his own choice and his own
way of coping with his feelings.

       Our third principle is to work with the man‟s understanding of his violence,
creating a new understanding where he can see the violence as a result of his own
personal history and the influence of our patriarchal culture. Our clients‟ experience of
violence in their childhood might be an issue on this level.

        Our last principle is to understand the consequences of his violence, seeing it
from his wife‟s and children‟s perspective. It is necessary to go through the 3 first
levels in order to achieve such understanding.

        My experience is that changing men is difficult but possible. It takes time. Our
results are good; most of our clients will change and stop acting violently.

       Alternative to violence means learning to act non-violently. It means co-
operation instead of competition. It means respecting instead of degrading, it means
equality instead of dominance. Dialogue instead of monologue. Communication instead
of control. And it means love instead of fear, hate and contempt.

       Men must take responsibility for their violence and dominance. A treatment
centre for violent men is also an important communication to the public about violence,
responsibility and masculinity.


                     Rapporteur: Ms Urszula NOWAKOWSKA (Poland)

I.     Applying the human rights framework to women

        We all know fundamental human rights standards such as right to life, liberty and
security of persons, freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. They are
stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and later repeated in the legally
binding international human rights conventions and national constitutions. We all know
that universality of human rights means that everybody is entitled to all fundamental
human rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex,
language or other status. Nobody questions that. In practice, however, many violations of
human rights that are specific to women have not, for a long time, been recognised as
human rights violations. Most women’s human rights violations are gender-based, and
numerous forms of discrimination or abuse occur only because the victim is female.
Women’s human rights are violated in a variety of ways. Women are subjected to rape and
sexual abuse by soldiers, police, employers and family members and other violent acts
which infringe upon their rights to liberty and security and their right to life. They are often
not free to decide about their marriage or how many children they would like to have and
when to have them. As women's groups have pointed out, women's freedom, dignity and
other human rights are persistently violated in a way that men's are not.

        Human rights work has traditionally been concerned with the state-sanctioned or
condoned abuses in the public sphere. Well-educated Western men did not have to fear
violations in the private sphere because they were masters of their households.
Therefore, first of all they were concerned with the violations of civil and political
rights by their governments. Most violations of specific women's rights, however,
occur in the privacy of their homes and workplaces.

        This artificial legal and perceptual division between abuses committed by state
and by private actors has categorised violations in ways that exclude women. For
example, restrictions in access to reproductive rights which often infringe upon
women's right to life do not affect men in the same way. Yes, men may be victims of
private violence, but it is not a pattern of gender-based abuse and therefore men have
been reluctant to treat gender-based violence as an abuse of human rights. As Charlotte
Bunch wrote, women don't have to be arrested or live in a war situation to be
incarcerated and tortured. Significant numbers of women are routinely subjected to
torture, starvation, terrorism, humiliation, mutilation and even murder, simply because
they are female. Crimes against any other group than women would be recognised as a
civil and political emergency as well as gross violation of the victim's humanity, but
while they affect only women they not recognised as such.

      Today, 50 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and despite all internationally approved standards, millions of women
worldwide still suffer violence and discrimination. As it was noted in a statement to the
Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995 by the UN
Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali, the studies on domestic violence, conducted
in 10 countries, revealed that 17 to 38% of women have suffered physical assaults by a
partner. These gross violations of women's human rights have been hidden by the long-
lasting silence.

        An effort of the women's movement to recognise women's rights abuses as
violations of human rights has been, for a long time, neglected by the international
community and national governments. Women's rights have been perceived as a part of
a special interest agenda and therefore marginalised. The lack of understanding of
women‟s human rights has been reflected in domestic and foreign policy. The
treatment of women has never influenced the foreign policy of any state, even where
aid or trade decisions are said to be based on the country's human rights record.
Women‟s human rights have rarely been a priority for non-governmental human rights
organisations. In the human rights reports prepared each year by the Helsinki
Federation, there is hardly any mention of abuses of women‟s human rights.

II.    Violence against women as a human rights issue

        The long-lasting struggle for women's rights as human rights gained its
momentum at the UN Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993. The
language embraced in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action has been a
great step forward in integrating women‟s rights on the human rights agenda. It states
that: "The human rights of women and the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and
indivisible part of human rights". In December 1993, the United Nations General
Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
This is the first international human rights instrument to exclusively and implicitly
address the issue of violence against women. It affirms that violence against women
constitutes a violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of women and impairs or
nullifies their enjoyment of these rights and freedoms. The Declaration defines
violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely
to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including
threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in
public or in private life." Recognition that violence against women constitutes a
violation of their basic human rights, regardless of who the perpetrator is (state or a
private actor), opens a new dimension in the human rights discourse. It is also worth
noting that the Vienna Declaration, the Programme of Action and the UN Declaration
on the Elimination of Violence against Women affirmed that in cases of conflict
between women‟s human rights and cultural or religious practices, the human rights of
women must prevail.

       Acknowledgment – by most of the governments and the UN system – that
violence against women is not a private matter but a pervasive human rights problem
requiring state intervention, resulted in further actions. On 4 March 1994 the Human
Rights Commission adopted a resolution (1994/45) in which the Special Rapporteur on
Violence against Women: its Causes and Consequences was appointed. The work of
the Special Rapporteur has increased the visibility of the issue of violence against
women in the international arena, but we should be aware that not all governments take
her work and recommendations seriously. For instance, the report and
recommendations prepared by the Special Rapporteur, after her visit to Poland and

some other countries in the region, were neglected by the Polish government. It is only
due to the work of NGOs that the report was translated into Polish and popularised.

        The achievements of the Vienna Conference were confirmed and further
developed in the Beijing Platform of Action adopted at the Fourth UN World
Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995. Violence against women
and women's human rights were identified as the two of the twelve critical areas of
concern which constitute main obstacles to the advancement of women. Governments
agreed, among other things, to adopt and implement national legislation aimed at
providing women with adequate legal and institutional measures, protecting them
against all forms of gender-based violence. They agreed to set up and support the
establishment of shelters for battered women and children, legal aid and other services
for women and girls affected by violence and the establishment of counselling and
rehabilitation centres for violent men. Governments also pledged to adopt all
appropriate measures to challenge gender stereotyped images of women and men, often
degrading women and presenting them as subordinated to men and to encourage non-
stereotyped, balanced and diverse images of women in the media and in the field of

       There have also been several European initiatives concerning violence against
women. The Council of Europe first adopted a Recommendation on violence in the
family in 1985. This included recommendations for action by member States to further
prevention, official reporting, and state intervention in cases of violence. The Council
of Europe took further action by adopting in 1990 a Recommendation on social
measures concerning violence within the family. In 1993, the 3 rd European Ministerial
Conference on Equality between Women and Men adopted a Declaration on policies
for combating violence against women in a democratic Europe. In 1997, a report and
very comprehensive Plan of Action on combating violence against women, prepared by
a group of specialists, was published by the Council of Europe.

       In 1984, the Women's Rights Committee of the European Parliament began to
consider violence against women and in 1986 adopted a parliamentary resolution and
the report which was followed by additional declarations and resolutions. The Year
1999 was announced by the European Union as Year against Violence towards

III.   International standards and Polish reality

       There is no doubt that over the last five years there has been considerable
progress in addressing the issue of violence against women – particularly at
international level. Violence against women is not regarded as a private matter any
more; it has been internationally recognised as a pervasive human rights problem. So,
the time has come to assess the implementation of these internationally recognised
standards and related governmental commitments. Have they made a difference to the
everyday lives of Polish women who have fallen victims to violence?

       Despite other major social changes, violence against women is still not
adequately recognised as a serious social problem. It still remains hidden, surrounded
by taboos, and marked by a strong tradition of shame and guilt in the case of
disclosure, especially in small villages and towns. Polish society continues to accept
powerful stereotypes about women's and men's traditional roles in family life, and
expectations about the appropriate or acceptable response to “inappropriate” behaviour
by women. Polish folklore still contains such sayings as “A husband who does not beat
his wife does not love her” and “If a husband does not beat his wife her liver rots”.

       Women who are victims of domestic violence or rape have very limited access
to psychological counselling and legal assistance. There is a severely inadequate
amount of shelters for abused women. At the present time, a system of specialised
assistance and therapy for women victims of violence has not yet been developed.
There are several shelters for homeless women and mothers with small children run by
the church where women can escape violent relationships, but these shelters do not deal
specifically with violence. Staff members who run these shelters are often themselves
abusive, accusing women of being provocative and teaching them be more complacent
to better satisfy men's needs. Women in these shelters usually do not get the support
and assistance they need, and often have to obey abusive rules depriving them of their
fundamental human rights.

       There have been, however, significant and positive changes in recent years. The
issue of violence against women is now more visible in the media. For over three years
the government anti-alcoholism agency has designed a programme to combat domestic
violence through the administration of a free hotline for victims of domestic violence.
Domestic violence programmes are also run by local anti-alcoholism agencies all over
Poland. In addition, there are an increasing number of women‟s NGOs working on the
issue of violence against women. In November 1997 the governmental anti-alcoholism
agency launched a big media campaign on domestic violence. There were many TV
and radio programmes as well as articles in local and national newspapers on the issue.
Several newspapers published the telephone numbers of non-profit organisations
providing services for victims of violence. Posters and billboards were visible in many
public spaces and in the streets of big cities. The Department for Family and Women‟s
Affairs of the previous government prepared a programme on violence against women
which was incorporated in the Programme of Action to promote women until the year
2000. Another governmental programme “Against Violence against Women: Equal
Chances” was developed by the Bureau for Family and Women's Affairs and co-
financed by the UNDP. Under the programme, 10 regional centres providing
comprehensive assistance to victims of violence were to be established and the staff for
these facilities were to be trained.

        Meanwhile, there has been a change in the government and the small progress
we could observe was stopped. The new minister for family affairs failed to recognise
even the very existence of the problem of violence against women. He criticised the
campaign against domestic violence as being aimed against the family and as
irrelevant, since, according to the minister, “Polish husbands are kind and they treat
their wives gently”. One should not consider this statement as a slip of the ministerial
tongue. The government has also decided not to enforce the national Plan of Action for
the Advancement of Women adopted by the previous government as a follow-up to the
Beijing conference and to give up the realisation of another programme: "Against
Violence against Women: Equal Chances". The minister criticised the programme as
aimed at distorting families and presenting bad images of Polish men. He also
questioned the prevalence of violence against women, arguing that men are victims as
well and added that by portraying men as perpetrators we may discourage women from
getting married. In his report on the situation of Polish families, there is no mention of
violence against women. In the chapter on violence – the shortest in the report – the
only kind of violence mentioned is violence against children. The "new-old" approach
of minister Kazimierz Kapera towards violence against women and domestic violence
in particular has been also reflected in the way some media have recently presented this
issue. (You should know that according to Polish law, radio and television must respect
the so-called Christian values, and the minister is the former head of the movement of
catholic families.) Recently, there have been several articles and TV programmes
where women were presented as the perpetrators of violence and as alcohol addicts,
while men were presented as responsible breadwinners and loving fathers. No one says
that such cases are impossible, but the way they are presented – as though violence
perpetrated by women is as common as by men – is a deliberate distortion of social
reality and is, in fact, aimed at marginalising and neglecting gender-based violence. It
has also become fashionable to present women as the leaders of violent gangs who
somehow force their subordinate male gangsters to commit the most cruel crimes. The
situation in Poland seems to be serious and scary. Recently, I was astonished when a
woman, initiator of the programme against domestic violence, asked our Centre to
organise training for them and wanted us to include violence against men in the
programme. The other surprise I recently experienced concerns the competition,
announced by the local government in Warsaw, to run a shelter for victims of violence.
The condition for NGOs who would like to run such shelter was that it will be open for
women and men who are victims of violence. Is this not scary? This recent
development in Poland is certainly aimed to undermine the importance of male
violence against women and women's human rights in general and, if it continues, it
will almost certainly induce long-lasting negative consequences for women.

IV.    Violence against women: some data and statistics

        It is difficult to estimate the actual number of incidents of domestic violence and
other violent crimes against women. The system of collecting official statistics
concerning violence is not well developed, and research into the subject is so scarce
that the results do not allow us to estimate the extent of the problem.

        According to the results of research conducted in 1993 and in 1996 by the
Public Opinion Research Centre, out of a representative sample of 1,087 adult women,
18% admitted to being victims of domestic violence, 9% to being repeatedly battered
by their husbands, and the other 9% to being beaten sporadically during the

                                           TABLE 1

             Breakdown of responses to questions asked of married women:
               "Does or has your husband ever hit you during a quarrel?"

                              Yes, many times
                       Yes, more than 10
                 Yes, once or twice

                                                     No, it has never

        Responses changed as a result of divorce. Divorced women admitted abuse far
more often: 41% alleged that they had been repeatedly beaten by their husbands, and
21% said that the abuse occurred sporadically. Some women, however, keep the abuse
secret. This is shown both by the data on the confirmed cases of abuses, and indirectly
by the responses women gave to the question of whether they knew of any women who
were beaten by their husbands during domestic conflicts. Of those women questioned,
41% of married women and 61% of divorced women answered “yes”. Among the
reasons given by the divorced women questioned as to why they had divorced, 32% of
women cited physical abuse, while only 2% of the divorced men questioned offered the
same response.

        This means that almost half of the women in Poland personally know a woman
who has been beaten by her husband. One in twenty Polish women lives in an abusive
environment. Most of the women polled responded that the abused women whom they
know are from a wide socio-economic range. It is interesting to note that women who
responded that they noticed violence in their neighbourhoods were mostly aged around
24, or students; older women responded the least frequently. The above-mentioned data
concern only physical violence within marriage and do not cover psychological and
sexual abuse in non-marital relationships.

        The research shows that domestic violence occurs more frequently in families
living in rural villages and happens more frequently in low-income families, while the
education level appears to have no impact on abusive behaviour.

       The main and most available source of information about cases involving
domestic and other forms of violence is the data published by the Ministry of Justice
regarding sentencing. The court statistics show that in 1996, 15,412 domestic violence
cases went to court but only 12,087 resulted in a sentence. According to the data, the
number of convictions for domestic violence crimes has increased over the last three
years from 10,449 in 1993 to 13,405 in 1996. The number of suspended sentences has

also increased from 9,143 (87.5%) in 1993 to 12,087 (90.1%) in 1996. The rate of
recidivism is very high (72.4%), which indicates that the punishments for these crimes
are not effective. (More detailed statistics are available in the next chapter of this

       The Ministry of Justice statistics indicate that 98% of the perpetrators of
domestic violence are men. In addition, the results of a study conducted by Professor
Kołakowskiej-Przełomiec indicated that 81% of the victims are the perpetrator's wives;
8% are their mothers; 5% are their former wives, 3% their live-in partners, 1% their
children; and 2% their parents-in-law.

       The Ministry of Justice also reported that women are the perpetrators in only 1.5
- 2% of the total cases of domestic violence. The majority of these cases were child
abuse, and not spousal abuse. It is clear from these numbers that men are
overwhelmingly represented in spousal abuse cases. Unfortunately, the only data
collected relate to the sentencing of perpetrators, and not to the characteristics of the

       Approximately 50 abused women per year attempt suicide according to the
Ministry of Justice. Two hundred murder cases per year can be traced to a family
dispute. In 1996 there were 15,412 reported cases of family abuse falling under Article
184. Among these cases, 13,405 resulted in some form of sentencing. While 12,087
were sentenced to jail, none of these people actually served time. Instead, they received
probation or were released subject to fulfilling certain requirements set by the court,
such as community service or remaining free from further criminal incident for a period
of time.

        There are some other sources of official data on domestic violence in Poland.
The police are required to keep records of the number of domestic violence cases sent
to the prosecutor, but because of the lack of a computerised system for collecting data,
the cases are not well processed and accurate data is difficult to obtain. The police are
not required, however, to keep records by category of the offence of every phone call
and resulting intervention. The data do not indicate the number of cases where charges
were withdrawn by frightened women who had been seriously beaten or threatened
with greater violence if they pressed forward with the charge.

V.     Law and practices

        Domestic violence: The Penal Code in Poland contains a specific provision
which identifies an act of domestic violence as a criminal offence. It was introduced in
the criminal code in 1969. Crimes of abuse against family members are found in the
Criminal Code Chapter entitled “Crimes Against Family, Custody, and Juveniles”. This
provision covers both physical and psychological violence and is gender neutral. Art.
184 §1 states: “Anyone who abuses physically or psychologically a member of a
family, an intimate relation, a physically or mentally disabled person, or a juvenile may
be found guilty and sentenced from 6 months to five years in jail.” The perpetrator may
be jailed for up to 10 years in the case of attempted suicide by the victim as a result of
the abuse, or if the perpetrator acted with extreme cruelty (art. 184). Under the new
Criminal Code to be enacted on 1 September 1998, the description of Article 184 abuse
is the same. The minimum sentence for this crime was lowered from 6 months to 3
months. Under 2, if the perpetrator acts with unnecessary cruelty, the punishment is
from one to ten years; if the victim attempts suicide because of the abuse, the
punishment is from two to twelve years.

        Domestic violence is publicly prosecuted in Poland and there is a legal
obligation for the police and/or prosecutor to start an investigation when they find it is
likely that domestic violence was committed. There is no need for the victim to come
forward with the charges. It should be enough that a neighbour or NGO informs the
police, or a police officer observes acts of violence during a call to an incident. But the
letter of the law and the law in practice are often two different things. In fact, cases of
domestic violence are rarely treated seriously either by law enforcement or prosecutors.
In common practice, these cases are prosecuted only at the request of the victim.
Additionally, police and prosecutors require well-documented complaints by the
victim, and refuse to proceed otherwise. Often investigations of cases reported by
women are not initiated because the evidence is not considered “credible” by police or
prosecution standards. The police require numerous medical certificates, which women
have to get themselves and have to pay for, and numerous visits to the police station.
While the public health service in Poland is free, a medical examination which will
stand up in court must be paid for, and this fee is often unaffordable for many women
(more than $10 USD per certificate). The other reason for the lack of medical
certificates required by the police is the fact that women are ashamed of their injuries.
They do not seek medical attention because of the social stigma attached to battered
women as well as their fear that they will be abused again. Although it is possible for
the medical examination to be free if women are referred by the police or prosecutor,
this rarely happens and women are not informed of the possibilities.

        Because domestic violence is a crime which occurs repeatedly, the 7-day rule
also causes problems for women. If a woman has only one medical certificate
indicating that the bodily harm she experienced dates from less than 7 days and she has
no witnesses, the police may refuse to prosecute the case and inform her that she may
file a private charge against her husband. The other problem victims of violence
experience is the lack of witnesses. Neighbours are often unwilling to get involved, and
do not want to be witnesses because they feel domestic abuse crimes are a private
matter to be settled within the family. As a result they often refuse to testify. Police and
prosecutors who are unwilling to develop a case against the perpetrator usually base
their decision on the lack of evidence. It is a common notion in Poland that evidence of
domestic violence is difficult to obtain, and therefore cases are difficult to prove. It is,
however, also true that the police do not take an active role in gathering evidence, for
example, by questioning neighbours immediately after an incident, when they may be
more willing to testify, or by collecting and documenting other evidence at the scene.

       When the police do decide to start an investigation the whole process usually
takes several months. In the meantime, the victim goes through a process which is
intimidating, unfamiliar and unfriendly. She cannot obtain adequate legal protection
and is exposed to the perpetrator's revenge. Protection orders are not available in
Poland, and there are very few shelters where victims can find refuge. As a result, the
frightened victims often do not want to testify, refuse co-operation with the police and
withdraw their complaints. Witnesses are often similarly frightened and are also
exposed to the perpetrator‟s threats of revenge, and as a result, pretend not to have
heard anything or openly refuse to testify.
        Because family violence cases are considered insignificant, they are not treated
like other crimes by the criminal justice system. One reason for the serious under-
enforcement of the existing domestic violence law is the absence of public recognition
of the grave consequences for women who are the targets of violence and for children
who are the witnesses of violence. There is virtually no public pressure to change this
drastic situation. In fact, it seems that domestic violence in many communities is still
accepted as an almost inevitable part of daily life.

        Serious legal and institutional deficiencies in the family violence intervention
system are also caused by a lack of knowledge about the complexities of domestic
violence among policemen, prosecutors and judges. The result, therefore, is
unresponsiveness to the injuries of battered women and their children, and the handling
of their cases in an insensitive and ineffective manner. Many law enforcers and judges
fail to apply the existing law effectively and often make rulings based on stereotypical
attitudes and beliefs. The result is that many victims do not receive the protection they
are entitled to under the law.

        The approach of the criminal justice system to domestic violence cases is best
reflected in the statistics. Suspended sentences are prevalent and their frequency has
increased from 9,143 (87.5%) in 1993 to 12,087 (90.1%) in 1996. The fact that most
perpetrators are sentenced to probation and not jail is not surprising, since in 1976 the
Highest Court issued guidelines that the lower court's first priority in these cases should
be to keep the family together, and only in the most extreme circumstances should the
perpetrators be sent to jail. Because there are no behaviour modification or
rehabilitation programmes for abusive men in Poland, this ruling may in fact be
causing more harm than good. Suspended sentences in practice are often no
punishment at all. Offenders with suspended sentences often continue their criminal
activity but very rarely are put in prison. Imprisonment is mandatory only after the
second conviction, and because of the slow pace of the criminal justice system in
Poland, it is unusual to be sentenced to mandatory imprisonment. The recidivism rate
for Article 184 crimes is 72.4%, which indicates that the punishments for these crimes
are not effective.

                           Sentencing under Art. 184 paragraph 1

                           1993              1994              1995              1996

Total convictions         10,449            10,696            12,594            13,405
                          100%)             (100%)            (100%)           (100%)
Jail Actually Served       1,181             1,228             1,272             1,047
                         (11.3 %)          (11.2%)           (10.1%)            (7.8%)
Probation                  9,143             9,601            11,183            12,087
(suspended               (87.5% )          ( 87.6%)          ( 88.8%)          (90.1%)
Total    Jail  and         10,324           10,837            12,455            13,134
Probation                 (98.8%)          (98.8%)           (98.9%)            (98%)
Limited Freedom              63               66                63                110
                           (0.6%)           (0.6%)            (0.5%)            (0.8%)

Fine                        63                 66                63                161
                          (0.6%)             (0.6%)            (0.5%)            (1.2%)
       Although there is a noticeable increase in the number of convictions, one must
be careful when interpreting these data. It is obvious that social and political changes of
recent years and women's increased awareness of their rights are factors in the rise of
both of reports of domestic violence and convictions. However, many cases of
domestic violence never get reported.

        The following table shows the length of sentences and also reflects the attitude
of the criminal justice system to domestic violence.

       Length of sentence for convictions based on Art. 184 paragraph 1 of the
       Criminal Code

                          1993             1994               1995              1996

below 6 months            0.5%            0.4%               0.5%               0.6%

 months to 1 year        72.9%           75.9%               76.8%             76.5%

1 to 2 years             26.2%           23.2%               22.4%             22.5%

2 to 5 years              0.4%            0.5%               0.3%               0.3%

5 years                     –               –                  –                  –

        Despite the fact that according to the law a perpetrator of domestic violence may
face up to 5 years‟ imprisonment, in fact more than 90% get a suspended sentence and
a maximum up to one year (77.1%). The perpetrators are aware that they will most
likely receive the lowest possible punishment for their crimes, and often feel they are
immune from punishment altogether. As a result, the family physically remains intact
and the short, suspended sentences contribute to increased tension resulting in further

        The unresponsiveness and ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system in the
case of domestic violence means that many women never report the violence they have
experienced. Those who do often retract their statements later. The fact that Poland is
experiencing a housing shortage also contributes to women‟s reluctance to report
violence. The few houses for homeless people, where women may be exposed to
further victimisation, do not provide a solution in the long-run, and many women often
end up returning to the home they share with the abuser. Because most abusers merely
receive probation and return back home after being sentenced, and women are fearful
that if they pursue a case against their partner, they will only be beaten worse the next

      Rape: According to Polish law, rape is a crime against personal freedom and is
gender neutral. It is a publicly prosecuted crime but the request of the woman is needed

to start a prosecution. Article 168, §1 of the Penal Code defines rape and the penalty
for the perpetrators in the following way: “Anyone who by means of unlawful threat or
deceit forces a lewd act on another person is liable to penalty of 1 to 10 years.” Article
168 2 states that if the offender commits the crime with unnecessary cruelty, or
commits the crime with other people, the jail sentence cannot be lower than three years.

        Marital rape and homosexual rape are covered by the general provision. The
definition of rape seems to be very modern and liberal. It includes the following
elements: a violent act with sexual intentions in which the attacker uses physical force,
threats, and/or coercion to overcome the victim‟s will and resistance when the victim
has not consented to the act, and when the victim believes at the time of the act that she
is being raped. An actual completed act of sexual intercourse and penetration are not
necessary for a person to be found guilty of rape under Article 168. Any act intended to
satisfy some sexual needs in the attacker is sufficient.

        The Criminal Code does not explain the term “unnecessary cruelty”, but based
on the guidelines of the Highest Court, this term means behaviour that is not essential
to overcome the resistance of the victim, or a kind of behaviour intended to humiliate
the victim, or to make her feel physical or moral pain or suffering, or to cause serious
injuries or disfigurement to the victim.

       Under the new Criminal Code effective from September 1 1998, rape is
included under the section “Crimes Against Sexual Freedom and Morality” and is
defined as follows:

                Article 197 1: Anyone who uses physical force, threats, or
         coercion to force another person to engage in sexual intercourse
         against their will may be sentenced to jail from one year to ten years.

                Article 197 2: Acting with the same force, threats, or coercion
         described in 1 above, if the perpetrator forces a person to engage in
         some other sort of sexual activity, not necessarily sexual intercourse,
         he may be sentenced to jail from 3 months to five years.

                Article 197 3: If the perpetrator commits a rape as described in
         1 and 2 above and acts with unnecessary cruelty, or commits the rape
         with the help of another person, he can be sentenced to jail from two
         years to twelve years.

        At the WRC we are critical of placing the rape provision in a new chapter. Why
distinguish between personal freedom and sexual freedom and what is the difference?
And the word morality included in the title of the chapter – what does it mean? What is
the relationship between individual rights and morality?

        In practice, however, the execution of the law diverges from its letter. The
police and courts treat rape as an everyday incident resulting from the provocative
behaviour of women. The preparatory and judicial proceedings are gender biased and
women victims are recurrently treated as if they were the accused. Often rape victims
are still in shock when they report the crime to the police, and it is not uncommon for
the victim to be interviewed for hours at the police station. The police often treat the
victim as a “whore”, as if she deserved to be raped. She is commonly humiliated for
what has happened to her, and sometimes forced to confront the attacker at the police
station. These facts cause additional psychological and physical harm to the victim, and
she is often unwilling to identify the attacker for fear that he will retaliate against her or
her family.

        Despite the fact that as early as in 1972 and again in 1979, the Supreme Court
released instructions to the lower courts that the law should be applied in accordance
with its letter, judges admit evidence which, according to the regulations in force,
should not be taken into consideration. During the trial the attention of the court is
focused on the woman, who must prove that there was nothing in her behaviour that
might have provoked the rape. The behaviour and lifestyle of the victim are under
scrutiny and play an important role in sentencing. The fact the request of the woman is
needed to start the procedure seems to be a weak point in the law. Many women do not
press charges due to their fear of the perpetrator‟s revenge, because of the humiliating
investigative procedure or simply because they do not believe in the effectiveness of
the criminal justice system. What can be learned from practice is that the victim‟s
sexual life prior to the rape will be taken into account by the court. It is generally
accepted by legal scholars in Poland, and by the courts, that if the victim was passive or
attempted to negotiate with her attacker, she did in fact consent to the crime. In these
cases, the court evaluates the circumstances surrounding the rape with a more sceptical
view of the victim, and is more likely to impose a lighter sentence on the attacker
because of the victim‟s supposed consent. In determining guilt and severity of
punishment, the court also takes into consideration how the woman was dressed or
whether she behaved “provocatively” (by coming to the house of the perpetrator) or if
she was intoxicated. Usually the court will also take into account whether the woman
was a virgin or not, whether the victim and the attacker knew each other, and whether
they have had sexual relations in the past; all kinds of stereotypes come into play.

        Although there is no accurate data in Poland we can assume that, as in other
countries, the majority of rape cases occur in the situation when the attacker and the
victim know each other. It is difficult to prove acquaintance rape since the attacker will
often defend himself by saying that the sex was consensual, or that she enjoyed the
brutal sex based on his previous relationship with the victim. There is some indication
that the situation is improving in that the media have recently reported that a prosecutor
has filed charges against a man who raped a prostitute.

       Cases of rape and enforced sexual intercourse occur fairly often in marriages.
Prior to 1990, convictions for marital rape were unusual and although women have
become more aware of their rights over the last few years, they still do not report such
incidents as crimes. They are ashamed of their situation and afraid of public opinion.
Many women believe that being married means allowing a man to have access to their
body any time. Apart from that, they know very well that to prove a rape in marriage is
not an easy task and the husband may always say that the sex was consensual. The only
witnesses of the rape may be the children and most of women, as in cases of domestic
violence, do not want to get children involved. If a woman decides to report rape it is
usually in the context of domestic violence and even when she mentions forced sex
policemen usually ignore it. It is a common tendency to refer to all kinds of violence,
including rape in the family, as domestic violence in order to diminish the
responsibility of the perpetrator, since the sentence for rape is much higher than for
domestic violence. Even attempted murder was classified by the prosecutor as a crime
of domestic violence in the case of one of our clients.

       Women who have survived rape have difficulties in finding specialised
psychological assistance and counselling. There are practically no rape crisis centres in
Poland and very few professional psychologists who may adequately address the
specific problems victims of rape are facing.

        Under Polish law, the victim must report the rape before the police will start an
investigation. Even if there is a witness to the rape who reports the crime to the police,
the police can not begin an investigation until the victim herself has filed charges. This
procedure makes victims vulnerable to the perpetrator‟s insistence that the victim
withdraw charges. Rape cases often take a long time and women are often victimised
during the whole process, and their credibility is questioned. It is often difficult to
prove because there are rarely witnesses to the crime and, according to the rules of
criminal law, the defendant is given the benefit of the doubt. If there are weaknesses in
the victim‟s case, the court will weigh the evidence in favour of the defendant.

         Taking into consideration the hostile attitude of the criminal justice system
towards victims of rape and the fear, guilt and shame printed in women's minds by
traditional stereotypes and the biased culture, it is easy to understand why cases of rape
are so under-reported. There is no accurate data in Poland, but it is estimated that the
number of rapes is actually ten times higher than what is noted by the police. There are
also no data available on the number of cases reported to the police. The only available
statistics concern sentencing.

       Despite the fact that the law considers rape to be a serious crime, sentencing
does not reflect the approach of the legislator. Only 64.2% of rapists serve a jail
                       Sentences under Art. 168 paragraph 1

                           1993              1994             1995             1996

Total                      769               723              768               776
                         (100%)            (100%)           (100%)            (100%)
Jail                       525              482,3            493,8             498,2
                         (68.3%)           (66.7%)          (64.3%)           (64.2%)
Probation                  244              240,7            274,1              277
(suspended               (31.7%)           (33.3%)          (35.7%)           (35.7%)
Total Jail                 769               723               768             775,2
Sentences                (100%)            (100%)            (100%)           (99.9%)
Loss of Civil and           19                –                 –                –
Public Rights            (2.5%)
Limited Freedom              –                  –               –              0.78

      The length of sentences also reflects the attitude of judges to rape cases: nearly
19% of rapists got a sentence below the minimum stipulated in the criminal code, and
54.2% received the minimum sentence of up to two years, mostly suspended.

                  Length of Sentences under Art. 168 paragraph 1

                                1994                    1995                   1996

 6 months to 1 year              158.3                   152.8                 145.9
                               (21.9%)                 (19.9%)               (18.8%)
 1 - 2 years                     342.7                   410.8                 420.6
                               (47.4%)                 (53.5%)               (54.2%)
 2 - 5 years                      188                    166.7                 176.1
                                (26%)                  (21.7%)               (22.7%)
 5 years                           22                     16.1                  13.9
                                 (3%)                   (2.1%)                (1.8%)
 more than 5 years                12.3                    20.7                  17.8
                                (1.7%)                  (2.7%)                (2.3%)

VI.    The Women’s Rights Centre’s work on violence against women

       The WRC is an organisation working predominantly on violence against
women, but we try to see the issue within the broader context of gender equality and
discrimination against women. Although violence against women is the main issue we
are working on, we also work on cases involving gender equality in the labour market
including, for example, sexual harassment and reproductive rights. At the Women's
Rights Centre we try to combine and balance legislative and policy aspects of women's
human rights by providing legal counselling to individual women who are victims of
violence and discrimination.

        In providing legal assistance to individual women, the WRC focuses on
counselling those women who cannot afford a lawyer or those whose case seems to be
so important it could set a legal precedent. Areas of our legal assistance cover mainly
criminal law (domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse of children) and family law
(divorce, alimony, and child support), although we also cover property law and labour
law. The assistance we provide women ranges from simple legal advice and writing
legal papers, to assisting them in the police station, in the prosecutor's office, and in
court, to testifying on behalf of our client or acting as an organisation or person of trust
in proceedings which are not open to the public.

        We do not tell women what to do or pressure them to take a particular action.
There is already enough pressure on our clients, and too many accusations that
everything is their fault. What we do is listen to them, and explain what rights they
have and how they can exercise these rights. If they decide to leave an abusive
relationship, we support them and assist them in carrying out their decision. We inform
women about their rights as a victim and encourage them to act as an additional
prosecutor. The opportunity to act as an additional prosecutor during the trial gives the
victim the chance to take an active role in the process, and not just rely on the public
prosecutor who may be insensitive to the issue of domestic violence and too
overworked to be well prepared for the trial.

       Monitoring the work of institutions applying the law is becoming an
increasingly important function of the WRC. We are planning to establish a programme
with a large number of law students who could go to the court, police or prosecutors'
offices with our clients. We think that it is very important to monitor the way the law is
applied and to show the role of the existing gender bias and stereotypes in the court
rooms, police stations and prosecutors' offices. We plan to use the new possibility of
acting as an NGO in criminal cases more often, especially where we hope to set a

        Although the assistance we are providing for battered women is called “legal”, it
is in fact much more than simply legal counselling. Unlike traditional lawyers, we
listen to our clients and try to help them solve not only their legal problems, but other
related problems as well. If women need specialised assistance we direct them to other
institutions and organisations providing psychological and social support. Since
February we have run a support group for battered women.

        One of our activities at the WRC is publishing brochures and leaflets concerning
women‟s rights. The WRC has published and distributed several publications such as:
“Learn your rights if you are a victim of violence” or “How to leave an abusive
relationship” as well as manuals on divorce and on women's rights in the labour
market. We also published a series of leaflets on myths and facts about domestic
violence, rape and sexual abuse of women and children. We distributed these materials
to various institutions and organisations helping battered women. One of our main
target institutions was the social welfare offices. By targeting social welfare offices, we
succeeded in establishing good working relationships with some local social welfare
centres. They advise some battered women to seek assistance with the WRC, and some
of our clients are referred to the social welfare centres to receive help we are not able to
provide. We also co-operate with an anti-alcoholism agency which has started an anti-
violence programme that includes support groups for battered women and therapy for
batterers. We have established contacts with local government authorities and we
negotiate with them to receive sheltered housing for battered women. The Women's
Rights Centre closely co-operates with an organisation called the Women Against
Violence Association run by women who have themselves been victims of domestic

        Since its inception, WRC has been assisting women who are victims of
violence. As a result, we see very clearly the weaknesses of the existing criminal
justice system and the urgent need for reform in each step of the intervention system.
We perceive training and education for the key professions involved in the domestic
violence intervention system as a crucial step in the reform process, given the
complexities of this problem.

       Our focus is on three professions: policemen, prosecutors and judges. We
believe that if efforts are concentrated only on one part of the system, for example in
training police to be more responsive and to write up the charges for violence, without
making changes in the prosecutors‟ office or in the courts, then the system will be
overloaded at one end and the same archaic practices which now prevent women from
being served effectively will continue to operate.

        In spring 1997 we started a series of seminars on domestic violence and gender
issues for policemen and prosecutors to educate them about the problem of violence
against women. The series of workshops are designed to recognise the issues and
problems in the work of each profession dealing with domestic violence. We believe
that for maximum effectiveness, training and education materials appropriate for each
of these professions should be developed in co-operation with the professionals who
will be using them. We plan to invite international experts to each of these workshops
and create a TASK FORCE for each profession composed of selected individuals. The
task force will review the workshop suggestions and develop training and educational
materials on domestic violence in consultation with invited experts. These materials
will be published by the WRC and will be made available free of charge to members of
each profession. One of the projects we are working on concerns legislation on
domestic violence.

VII.   Final remarks

        If we compare progressive language of international human rights documents
with the actual improvement at the national level, we clearly see the large gap between
verbal commitments and the reality. Fifty years after the adoption of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and five years after the approval of the Declaration on
the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is clear that violence against women
still constitutes a challenge to the national and international communities and to the
society at large. We need more than verbal commitments! We need political will and
concrete remedies. We know what to do, we have to do it!

        The government signed the Platform for Action and the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women, and developed a good and comprehensive
national plan of action – now we must finally implement it. In view of the legal and
institutional reform aimed at establishing more effective systems protecting women
against violence, the review of the existing national laws and comprehensive research
are necessary in order to effectively combat violence against women. In the absence of
accurate data, it is commonly assumed that violence against women and domestic
violence are confined to “pathological”, alcoholic or impoverished circles. This
assumption is further supported by the fact that the only governmental programme
against domestic violence has been run by the agency working against alcoholism in
Poland. It is inevitable that the connection between violence and alcoholism obscures
or denies the existence of the power and control relationships between men and women
– a well-documented research finding on domestic violence in other societies.

        The coming year has been announced by the European Union as the Year
against Violence towards Women and all countries applying for the membership of the
EU have been strongly encouraged to join the activities planned for this year. It seems
to be a perfect time for government to start doing things.

       The 50 anniversary of the UDHR and the new millennium seem to be an
appropriate time, not only to celebrate our accomplishments but also to demand a
quality shift in the approach to women‟s human rights and human rights in general. We
must stress the positive obligation of governments to protect and promote human rights
and demand that the international community and the institutions of civil society
execute it. Governments must take full responsibility for its commitments. We, as the
representatives of civil society, must make governments accountable. We need,
however, stronger mechanisms which will help to enforce government‟s commitments
and obligations under the international human rights law. We should call upon the
international community to adopt the additional protocol to the Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and finally to adopt a
Convention on the Elimination of Violence against Women before the year 2000.

       In closing, let me use some words from the women‟s human rights 1998 global
campaign: “Imagine a world where all women enjoy their human rights; take action to
make it happen”.


                              Report of Working Group 1

                     Rapporteur: Ms Maryse JASPARD (France)
                    Chair: Ms Elena POPTODOROVA (Bulgaria)

        This is a summary of the main points on which a certain consensus was reached in
the working group. The various topics singled out are intended to help establish the
theoretical focus prior to the drafting of recommendations.

1.    The models and representations of patriarchal society are still very prevalent in all
European countries:

-      the patriarchal society underpins male domination;
-      the patriarchal society generates institutions perpetuating this principle;
-      it breeds a specific form of violence against women in the family setting.

2.   Domestic violence against women is but one aspect of the inequalities between
women and men; it cannot be analysed as an isolated phenomenon.

3.      Until violence towards women is stamped out, it will not be possible to achieve
effective equality between women and men, which is a basic principle of fundamental
human rights. The problem of violence must be placed in the context of human rights, not
only in the social sphere (eg in the training of all those involved in interventions).

4.    Domestic violence is not just a social issue but a basic societal problem, hence
domestic violence cannot be regarded as a private matter.

5.      In comprehending domestic violence, one must also take account of cultural
differences and of the weight of cultural traditions, for example the tension to which a
migrant woman can be subjected when confronted with two cultures whose views on the
place of women and men in society and the foundations of the family are contradictory.

6.      Emphasis should be placed on the importance of the terms chosen to analyse and
address violence-related problems; for instance, recurrent use of the word "victim" can
heighten the passive and even derogatory image often assigned to women who receive
violent treatment, both for the women themselves and for those intervening (such as police
and social workers). Likewise, the term "protection" has connotations of "female pseudo-
fragility". Using such words in the framework of the Council of Europe should be thought
about. For example, terms such as “prevention” or “help” could be more appropriate.

7.    Women are not "natural victims" but they are subjected to victimisation; still more
emphatically, they are not "consenting victims".

8.    The continuum of violence, including psychological violence, must be taken into

9.      While it is urgent to assist the women subjected to violence, it is also necessary to
have means of training and sensitising all actors within the institutions concerned at all
levels (justice, police, medical staff, social workers, etc).

10.    Bringing about changes in attitudes must not be the sole responsibility of NGOs;
governments must unequivocally adopt a stance on these issues; prevention requires
committed action by all social institutions, particularly the education system, directed at
persons of all ages. Human rights observances as well as equality between women and
men should be covered by every school syllabus.

11.     The introduction of preventive mechanisms entails knowledge of how the matter
stands in society; accordingly research, enquiries and statistics constitute the first stage in
ascertaining the extent of the phenomenon, its consequences and processes. Estimation of
the social cost of violence should also be a means of lobbying governments to take
measures for the eradication of domestic violence.

12.   If women have difficulties in reporting and denouncing the violence which they
undergo, it is because society:

-      does not allow them to do so (ignorance of the law and of assistance facilities;
       inconspicuousness of the structures);

-      does not adequately respond to their problems.

13.    National legislation should condemn marital rape. Actions should also be
undertaken to change the mentalities on this subject, especially the provision of sex
education courses.

       The group concurred in proposing the following recommendations:

A.     At national level

-      governments should make a policy statement emphasising that violence against
       women and domestic violence cannot be tolerated and constitute an infringement of
       human rights;

-      governments not yet having done so should revise the existing legal framework to
       make sure that it provides for adequate measures of recourse and protection against
       domestic violence;

-      the gender equality perspective should be applied systematically in framing and
       implementing policies and programmes in all areas, particularly macro-economics;

-      policies to combat domestic violence should be regularly assessed. In this context,
       NGOs should insist that national reports on the implementation of the Convention
       on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women contain a chapter

     on anti-violence measures and action, as prescribed by the recommendation of the
     committee in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Convention;

-    research programmes including statistics on domestic violence should be
     developed. The findings of such research are an excellent aid to member States,
     NGOs and other agencies concerned for the purpose of implementing prevention
     policies in order to combat domestic violence;

-    information and awareness-raising campaigns directed at the public and at the
     various professions concerned by the issue of domestic violence and sex education
     should be organised.

B.   At the Council of Europe

-    the Council of Europe should propose an outline, adaptable to each country, for
     training and information handbooks directed at judges, court officers, members of
     the police force and medical practitioners;

-    the Council of Europe should carry out a study reporting the position as regards
     member States' legislation and available statistics in this field;

-    the question of equality between women and men should be among the issues
     covered by monitoring of compliance with the obligations of Council of Europe
     member States;

-    the Council of Europe should speed up the preparation of the recommendation on
     protecting women and girls against violence so that it can provide guidance and
     standards for the relevant national policies.


                              Report of Working Group 2

                     Rapporteur: Ms Astrid KECKEIS (Austria)
                    Chair: Mr Santiago URIOS MOLINER (Spain)

        The working group considered how support and assistance were provided to
victims of domestic violence in the national legislation of the various member States.
Following a rapid canvassing of the views of the participants, and taking into account the
Plan of Action to combat violence against women published by the Council of Europe and
the introductory report by Ms Astrid Keckeis, the Group looked at a number of priority
questions: what help is available to victims of violence in the different countries? Which
strategies have been most successful and why? Does legislation exist to protect the
victims, and how is it put into practice?

       Participants discussed these issues in order to identify good practices which could
be used in different countries. However, it was stressed that measures to be taken should
be adapted to the specific national context. Specific legislation to counteract the problem
of domestic violence should always be complemented by social support services and,
above all, by an effective policy to promote equality between women and men.

       The discussion focused on the means to ensure comprehensive protection of the
victims of domestic violence, without favouring secondary victimisation. This was to be
ensured by an integrated approach, involving the State and NGOs. The following practical
measures were envisaged:

1.     Social intervention:

-      Provide a nationwide victim support service structure, consisting of women's
       shelters, counselling centres, helplines;

-      establish an infrastructure allowing for a proactive approach to support victims who
       do not contact shelters and counselling centres and which guarantees co-ordinated
       and effective interventions of all agencies involved;

-      provide victims of domestic violence priority access to state subsidised housing and
       training courses;

2.     Legislation and criminal procedure

       Acts of domestic violence should be treated by the State as criminal acts and not as
"private matters". Various national legislations were discussed in detail, including the need
to make available non-molestation orders and occupation orders which could define
occupation rights in the home, including, for example, the expulsion of the perpetrator

from the home and its vicinity. Furthermore, the following specific measures were

-      in order to avoid a traumatising confrontation with the perpetrator and to avoid
       repetition of the victim's statements, make it possible to use technical means
       (videos screens, closed circuit TV, etc) to listen to and record complaints;

-      the law should be amended to forbid that a complainant's sexual history be
       admitted as evidence;

-      to grant to the police the legal right to investigate and collect evidence and to
       enable the law enforcement authorities to lodge complaints on behalf of the victims
       of domestic violence;

-      to create a register of existing protection orders enabling rapid computer access and
       police intervention. In cases where women are subject to serious threats from
       another person, instant alarm call devices should allow them to feel safe wherever
       they go.

-      psychological treatment programmes should be implemented as a complement to
       penal measures.

3.     Measures in the field of education and professional training

      It was suggested that sufficient financial means be made available for educational
measures, such as :

-      compulsory training courses for police and other law enforcement personnel;

-      intensified initial training and "further education" of public prosecutors and judges,
       as well as teachers, social workers, therapists and other professional groups being
       confronted with the problem of domestic violence;

-      representatives of child protection agencies, teachers and childcare workers should
       receive specific training to raise the awareness of specific needs of children who
       have experienced domestic violence;

-      the Group stressed the importance of an effective monitoring and evaluation
       system, including regular reporting on progress made and the sharing of
       information in relation to good practice;

-      participants also stressed that treatment of violent men not only had a preventive
       effect, but also encouraged women to denounce violent acts because they knew the
       perpetrators would be not only sanctioned but also treated;

-      in general, the complementarity of the various aspects discussed was essential: a
       step forward in adopting criminal prosecution measures should go together with
       progress in support, counselling and education.

4.     Co-operation with NGOs

        Bearing in mind the important work of NGOs, governments should develop their
strategies, actions and legislation in the field of violence against women and children in
co-operation with NGOs and should support their initiatives.


                              Report of Working Group 3

                        Rapporteur: Mr Per ISDAL (Norway)
                       Chair: Ms Violeta NEUBAUER (Slovenia)

        The discussion in this working group was based on the introductory report by Mr
Per Isdal on working with the perpetrators of violence against women. There was a clear
consensus as to the fact that violent men had to be addressed directly in order to help them
to stop their violence, domination and abuse.

        Violence against women and children constitutes a major societal and health
problem, and must be fought. The first priority in the work to combat men's violence
should be to help and protect women and children, which means for example to establish
crisis centres for abused women, to give women economical and social possibilities for
independence and to create a sound legal basis for the protection of women and children.

        The notion of men's responsibility for their violence against women must be the
basis for all interventions to combat this phenomenon. A characteristic of men's violence
against women and children is its secrecy and invisibility; focus should be put on
interventions that contribute to less secrecy and greater visibility.

       Prevention of violence should take place on many levels, not only on the level of
the individual man but also on the level of society as a whole, creating better knowledge
through education and greater awareness of the problem and its causes. The media could
play an important part in influencing the changing of attitudes.

       The discussion showed that there is still little experience and few intervention
programmes directed at violent men in Europe. There is a need for more experience
combined with research and a sharing of information at European level. The Council of
Europe should play an important role as a forum for the exchange of such research and

        Many participants were in favour of setting up centres dealing specifically with
violent men and their patterns of behaviour. It was stressed that intervention programmes
directed towards men must be drawn up in co-operation with those dealing with the
protection of women. The aim of both kinds of interventions must be the same: to stop and
prevent violence and abuse against women.

        Some participants pointed out that the diversity of cultures in Europe, the progress
achieved towards gender equality and the resources available for interventions should be
taken into consideration. It was emphasised that programmes aimed at men should not be
set up to the detriment of projects aimed at assisting women victims of violence.

       All interventions directed towards men's violence against women and children
should be evaluated in view of their effectiveness in securing protection and preventing
violence. In this respect, a critical discussion is needed on intervention directed at the
family as a unit, for example family mediation.

       The Group agreed that:

1.     Research and awareness-raising on male violence needs to be increased.

      Studies and research work on men's violence against women, taking into account
       the overall social context, should be promoted.

      Awareness-raising on domestic violence, e.g. campaigns, should be aimed
       specifically at men.

2.     Violent and abusive men's behaviour against women must change.

       Intervention programmes directed at violent men should be set up and evaluated.
       They should correspond to certain standards or criteria, for example:

      safety of women and children victims of domestic violence should be the primary

      good understanding and co-operation between women's programmes and
       intervention programmes for men;

      effective information strategies about intervention programmes that reach all those

      responsibility for the violence must be understood fully as the man's;

      availability and a quick response by experienced personnel.

      Intervention programmes should not become an alternative to punishment, but
       rather an additional strategy to prevent violence.

3.     Education on non-violent behaviour and equality between women and men
       should be available, especially in schools.


                              Report of Working Group 4

                 Rapporteur: Ms Urszula NOWAKOWSKA (Poland)
                   Chair: Ms Elsa THORKELSDÓTTIR (Iceland)

      The working group based its discussions on the report presented by the rapporteur
and examples of measures on prevention of domestic violence taken in other countries.
The participants stressed, inter alia, the importance of legal measures and their
implementation, as well as the introduction of relevant sanctions and alternative measures.

       It was agreed that mediation is not a recommended solution in cases involving
violence in intimate relationships.

       Some participants underlined the necessity of having a definition of domestic
violence before starting work on legal reform.

        Special attention was given to the protection of migrant women and it was
proposed that they must be given an individual legal status in the country of residence
(right to stay, to work, etc.).

       During the discussions, the other following points were raised:

-      Need for training on violence against women and gender equality for legislators,
       MPs, magistrates, prosecutors, law enforcement officers. In this context, the
       Austrian example of a mandatory training programme for the police was
       recommended. It was noted that even if there are women in the judiciary and other
       relevant bodies they are not necessarily more sensitive and friendly towards victims
       of violence.

-      The need for the relevant authorities involved in the criminal justice system to be
       more open and receptive towards victims of violence. In this context, the question
       of how to build victims' trust in the State and its institutions responsible for
       preventing and combating violence.

-      The importance of beginning gender equality education at a very early stage and to
       ensure an adequate training for teachers and pedagogists on the issue of domestic
       violence and gender equality.

-      The need to develop and implement programmes for violent men and involving
       men in the work to prevent violence was also underlined.

-      The need to orientate the campaign against violence against women foreseen for
       1999 towards men's responsibility and accountability. The media should not only
       cover spectacular aspects of violence against women, but also try to educate the
       public about the causes and consequences of violence against women. Participants
       shared concrete examples of campaigns, such as the use of TV spots (Greece),
       organising tribunals (Poland) and the White Ribbon Campaign (Canada).

-      The need to establish databases which will include information on relevant
       institutions, NGOs and other agencies working on the issue of domestic violence
       across Europe, national legislations, existing data, statistics. In this context,
       WAVE and the European Women's Lobby initiatives were mentioned and

-      The importance of setting up benchmarks in order to measure and compare
       achievements in legislation, statistics, quality of services, etc. In order to do so, the
       governments have to define and develop common indicators setting out the tools to
       achieve these goals.

-      Need for an inter-agency co-operation at the European level, but also at national
       and local levels, including partnership between governmental and non-
       governmental organisations and other sectors. This could be facilitated by new
       technologies such as Internet and European programmes such as Daphne. These
       programmes cannot be effectively implemented without governments'
       commitment, including financial support.


1.      Education on gender equality and various aspects of domestic violence, including
its causes and consequences, should be available for the following groups:

          Children at the earliest school stage, and teachers;

          Magistrates (including judges, lawyers, prosecutors, police);

          Professionals (doctors, social workers, probation officers...) dealing with
           women victims of violence;

          The public as a whole.

2.      Special attention must be paid to raise women's awareness of their legal rights in
order to provide them with the means to stop violence at an early stage.

3.     Publications for educational purposes, such as books, documentation, CD-Roms,
research studies, must be edited and distributed to a large public. In this context, it is
recommended to set up international and national databases (useful addresses, list of
NGOs, guides of conduct and good practices, etc.)

4.     New information technologies, such as Internet and e-mail, must be used in order
to improve communication between all the persons and bodies or institutions concerned.

5.      Media should cover in a regular, objective and non spectacular manner all the
issues concerning violence and the system of prevention.

6.      Governments should be accountable and responsible for implementing an
appropriate legal framework for preventing and combating domestic violence in a more
effective way. In this context, they should:
         define or redefine the concepts of domestic violence, in order to ensure that all
            forms of violence (physical, psychological and sexual) within the family are

          take their responsibility for filing charges and prosecute the crime of domestic

          introduce effective measures for providing protection for victims of violence
           after the incident and during the whole legal procedure (adequate and
           alternative sanctions, including restraining orders and treatment for
           perpetrators, police intervention, the presumption of innocence cannot deprive
           a victim of adequate legal protection; some participants proposed to limit
           perpetrators' access to children but there was not an agreement on this

          implement and ratify the relevant international instruments aiming to protect
           women against violence (eg the Committee of Ministers Recommendation on
           Compensation to Victims of violent crimes, Revised European Social Charter
           and the relevant UN Conventions, etc.);

          establish minimum standards for providing services to victims of violence in
           order to avoid the situation of double victimisation. These standards should be
           aimed at empowering women and protecting them from the harassment of
           perpetrators (secrecy of the shelters, no mediation, etc.);

          provide the necessary financial resources to implement all these measures.

7.       International organisations and NGOs should co-operate by establishing databases
of organisations and institutions dealing with domestic violence, legislations and existing
statistics on this issue and making them accessible for interested partners.

8.     The Council of Europe is invited to:

          draft, as soon as possible, a binding legal instrument setting up effective
           measures for preventing and combating violence against women;

          establish an effective monitoring system of the progress made by the member
           States in implementing international standards and measures for combating
           violence against women;

          promote co-operation between Council of Europe Committees and other
           relevant bodies in order to develop a comprehensive approach in dealing with
           violence against women and women's human rights;

   include in the programme of activities for the development and consolidation
    of democratic stability a training course devoted to the issue of women's
    human rights and violence against women.


                       Ms Gabriela ADAMEŞTEANU (Romania)

      The Information Forum on national policies in the field of equality between women
and men took place in Bucharest (Romania) from 26-28 November 1998.

         The Forum, held at the invitation of the Romanian authorities and in co-operation
with the Romanian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, was organised in the context
of the work of the Council of Europe's Steering Committee for equality between women
and men (CDEG). Participants included experts in the fields of equality and human rights,
health care workers, researchers into violence against women, therapists, psychologists,
educators, lawyers, judges, police officers, sociologists, parliamentarians and government
officials representing the Council of Europe member States as well as a number of non-
governmental organisations. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and
the European Health Committee were represented. Belarus, Canada, the Central European
Initiative, the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture, the United
Nations Development Programme and a number of international non-governmental
organisations were also represented.

        The opening session was held in the presence of the Director of Human Rights of
the Council of Europe, the Vice-Chair of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania, an adviser
to the Romanian Presidency and the Vice-Chair of the Committee for equal opportunities
of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

       During the two and a half days of the Forum, the participants discussed the
following themes:

General theme:             Ending domestic violence: action and measures

Sub-theme 1:               Confronting domestic violence and its consequences

Sub-theme 2:               Assistance and support for victims

Sub-theme 3:               Working with the perpetrators

Sub-theme 4:               Prevention of domestic violence

          A general debate was organised within the framework of the Forum on the
possibility of preparing a draft European legal instrument for combating violence against

        A meeting of Romanian non-governmental organisations, organised within the
framework of the Council of Europe's activities for the development and consolidation of
democratic stability, was held immediately after the Forum.

          Yesterday, a Romanian national daily carried a front-page article reporting an
incident in which a peasant from an underprivileged region (an ordinary farm worker not
owning land) had maltreated his wife so badly as to break her jaw and several of her teeth.
Why? Merely because she had decided to call the latest addition to their family Mihai
instead of naming him after Nicu Ceaucescu, the son of the former Communist dictator.
The violent father is a retrograde Communist; had the child been a girl, he would have
named her after Ceaucescu's daughter Zoe.

          The first message conveyed to us by this piece of news is political: certain people
confronted with present difficulties cherish fond memories of the Communist era. The
second message is in a more sensationalist or even comical register. Sensational news
items pervade the Romanian press, with people taking a voyeur-like and rather perverse
interest in the tragedies that abound all over the country.

         However, few male or female readers of this news are likely to reflect that the
most serious element is the aggravated violence which drove a father of five children
(Mihai being the youngest) to inflict severe injury on his wife because her opinion differed
from his (in fact she had a wiser and more responsible outlook regarding the child's
future). The violence was triggered by the desire to have total control over a human being.
This is a primitive form of authoritarianism which, deplorably enough, takes up the front
page of the newspapers because of its rather offbeat political content. It is closely linked
with the Communist past when society was regarded as one big patriarchal family totally
subservient to the father figure of the dictator who wielded power of life and death over its

         But out of context, and leaving aside the political element, this violence
stemming from a man's urge to dominate his wife by maltreating, humiliating and
demoralising her is not just a product of one or all of the East European societies which
have recently emerged from half a century of Communism and isolationism.

          Male violence towards women, unlike other aspects of gender in equality, was
long an "invisible phenomenon". In the Western countries it became visible as from the
1970s and 80s thanks to the activism of feminist groups and non-governmental
organisations. In particular, the creation of shelters and advice bureaux for women trying
to protect themselves and their children from sexual violence (the concerns of civil society
over certain forms of specific violence - rape, including marital rape, battery, sexual
harassment at work, etc) succeeded in bringing home to the public that all these acts
constituted violations of personal integrity. Until then, violence was regarded as a social
issue and a private affair and not as a basic societal problem.

          Recently, no doubt thanks to efforts to alert public opinion and more efficient
circulation of information reporting of these violent acts is on the increase: their
dangerousness, intolerable both for the individual and for society, is acknowledged. The
more extreme forms of violence against women include traditional practices in certain
countries such as honour killings and genital mutilation. Others are plainly criminal
(murder, incest and rape) but not sufficiently known, prevented or punished. The
emergence of "groups at risk" must be mentioned: recent women immigrants (traditional
non-European migration movements to Europe and the new trend of migration from
Eastern to Western Europe), women bringing up their children alone, single parent
families who are more economically deprived and isolated, and disabled women who
belong to ethnic minorities or are refugees (the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo gave them a
sad notoriety).

          Most importantly, it is acknowledged that violence against women is universal
and very widespread in all sectors of society, being founded on unequal treatment of the
persons forming the family unit. It is not merely the doing of the mentally ill, but also
often rests with men who are normal and well integrated in society in every respect.

         The difficulty of action and intervention in the frequent cases of domestic
violence is also acknowledged. Why?

         Firstly, because the family - in all its forms - belongs both to the private and the
public spheres. State intervention must pay due regard to the sanctity of private life.

          Secondly, because violence against women is profoundly rooted in the traditions
of patriarchal society based on male domination, in attitudes, in individual representations
of masculinity and femininity, in conventional education and in deep-seated reflexes.
Masculinity (virility) is associated with violence (towards oneself, the same sex, and
towards the "weaker" sex), and femininity with reserve, submissiveness and self-sacrifice
for the man and for the family. Common myths and prejudices persist, to the effect that
violent men diverge from the social norm and cannot help doing what they do to their
wives because they are subject to "normal" outbursts of violence, and that the woman
suffering the violence has in a way caused it by not properly performing her role as a wife,
mother and woman.

         Recent research has demonstrated the falsehood of these beliefs, unconfirmed by
any objective criteria.

          The main theme of the Forum - ending domestic violence - raises a crucial
question for democracy. This widespread form of violence indicates the place that women
occupy in society. As long as one woman in five remains a victim of violence in Europe,
and as long as the vast majority of the attackers are male members of the family (husband,
father-in-law, brother, son, partner, etc), ie close relatives, equality between women and
men will make no progress whatsoever.

         The Forum participants described the situation in their countries regarding
violence against women. Notwithstanding the diversity of cultures and situations in
Europe and the economic, political and social contrasts, many common features emerged
and confirmed the idea that violence forms a serious obstacle to equality.

         The reports and discussion demonstrated the unproductiveness of creating a
victim-tormentor dichotomy between women and men, and that violence is more suitably
treated as a societal problem with multiple dimensions. Because it involves both the
public and the private spheres, culture as well as politics, and social and economic aspects,
violence towards women must be dealt with by a range of measures applied under a
modulated, creative approach.


         Domestic violence comprises physical, sexual and psychological violence. It
threatens the fundamental rights, individual freedom and bodily integrity of the victims,
chiefly women. It is committed within the family, broadly defined.

         Violence against women includes the sexual abuse of little girls, rape (including
marital rape), all forms of coercion and means of intimidation, punishment, relegation to
gender-stereotyped roles, undermining of self-esteem or personality and impairment of
physical or intellectual capabilities.

         Violence against women is used by its perpetrators to consolidate their control. It
expresses the imbalance characterising the power relationship between the sexes in

          Violence against women, being invisible and surreptitious, is not reflected in any
precise statistics. Not enough complaints are made by assaulted women, particularly in the
domestic violence context, and 3/4 of complaints in certain countries have been withdrawn
after a certain time. The number of cases reported and registered falls appreciably short of
the reality. There is a considerable variety of reasons for this, including shame, fear of
retaliation, women's limited access to official departments, the intuition (which does
correspond to reality, alas) that they will not be believed or treated respectfully, and also
love - for the man who is their assailant, for the children they are in danger of losing, and
for the family.

         The children who witness domestic violence are also victims. Most receive
blows and injuries. Even if they are protected from physical suffering, the spiritual
anguish remains.

          Children raised in a violent atmosphere tend to replicate it in their adult life: girls
will assume the victim's role and boys the attacker's. Anxiety, lack of self-confidence and
suicidal tendencies are other consequences of an unhappy childhood spent in a violent
family atmosphere.


          Violence against women is one of the many aspects of inequality between
women and men. Society, retaining patriarchal roots in many countries, produces
institutions which perpetuate this principle. This question is not a priority in the
programmes of the public authorities. Society remains tolerant towards violence against
women, considering it acceptable in the light of traditional customs and continuing to lay
the blame on the victims by suggesting that they would not have been assaulted if they had
or had not acted in a certain way. Men are absolved by saying that they are subject to
stress from overwork or unemployment (a situation not unknown to women), under the
influence of alcohol or drugs, ill, and so on. Women themselves come to internalise this
mitigation of responsibility for violence and even to blame themselves.

       Too few countries have realised the huge economic cost of violence against
women incurred through investigations and civil and criminal proceedings, physical and

mental health expenditure, working days lost, and the disruption of children's schooling
and even future working lives caused by family violence.


         During the discussions, numerous measures to combat violence were proposed,
covering several fields (politics, legislation, education, training, support, research, health,
media, etc). For some countries (eg in Eastern Europe) it is a matter of pledging this work,
and for others it involves carrying on the process to end violence against women. Pooling
of experience by the different countries is crucial to the attainment of this goal.

       I. General policy and legislation: role of the governments

          To create a climate where violence is rejected, each government should publish a
declaration of principle on violence against women, together with an action plan. The
domestic violence issue should appear on political agendas, with short-term priorities
varying between countries. Governments should provide backing for victim support
services, research (insufficient in all countries), and official statistics on incidents reported
to the authorities. Police, courts, hospitals, NGOs, social work agencies, shelters and
helplines should work together in registering and dealing with cases of violence.

         All Council of Europe member States should be able to provide information on
the number of cases of rape and sexual, domestic, marital and other forms of violence, and
on the culprits. Local authorities should be involved in this action. Governments should
introduce legislation designed to prevent violence against women in any form and see to
its enforcement. Reform of legislation and court procedure should be supported by
lobbying parliament. Equal representation of women in the political parties and
administrative structures is essential in these cases to help parliaments enact laws on the
prevention of domestic violence.

         In this connection, the participants issued the following recommendations:

-      define the concept of domestic violence in such a way that it is treated as a serious
       criminal offence whatever its form;

-      provide means of ensuring victims' protection after the offence and for the entire
       duration of proceedings, which should include injunctions to keep the offender
       away from the victim's home and/or other places;

-      organise or reorganise procedures to avert secondary victimisation, in particular by
       avoiding confrontation with the culprit and by using all available technical
       resources (videos, recordings, etc).

-      granting the police and law enforcement agencies authority to carry out
       investigations and obtain evidence, and to lodge complaints on behalf of victims of
       domestic violence;

-      prohibit the use of a plaintiff's sexual history as evidence in court proceedings;

-      ensure that procedural delays, particularly in connection with divorce cases
       involving domestic violence, are as brief as possible to avoid aggravating the
       vulnerability of victims whose situation hinges to a great extent on the divorce
-      secure free legal aid to victims of domestic violence;

-      lay down specific measures for vulnerable groups and in particular grant migrant
       women a separate right of residence from that of their spouse/companion/partner;

       II.        Victim support

        Criminal law and the penalties prescribed for offenders are not enough: additional
action must be envisaged to ensure the protection and safety of victims.

         The available forms of assistance for victims (shelters, helplines, informal
networks of family members of friends, local communities and counselling centres) differ
between countries. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe are at the beginning of
the process: shelters are inadequate in their number; they may even have corrupt staff and
sexual harassment of victims may occur in them; their financing and normal operation are
not properly looked after by the public authorities, and private funding is hard to obtain.
Even in countries whose experience in these matters is almost two decades old, there is a
marked difference between rural and urban areas.

         Governments should envisage applying the following measures:

-      verify the effectiveness of national level services - reception centres for victims;
       specialised clinics;

-      establish new services as new needs emerge;

-      provide financial support for the organisations in existence, NGOs included;

-      co-ordinate the activity of all institutions (police, justice, NGOs and social services)
       involved in the drive to end domestic violence.

        Healing bodily injuries is not enough; violence against women leaves deep
psychological scars to be removed by appropriate treatment. Few countries arrange for

       III.       Measures aimed at violent men

         Men who inflict violence on women and children should be targeted by specific
actions to help them put an end to their violence, domination and abuse. The following
should be set up or developed:

-      information and awareness campaigns specifically concerning men, with the aim of
       making them appreciate that they bear the responsibility for violence against

-      action programmes directed at violent men, which should never be at the expense
       of victim support and assistance, but form an additional strategy against violence;

-      research into male violence.

       IV.        Prevention

          So that the violence observed within families today is eliminated tomorrow,
preventive measures are essential. Having become intolerable, violence should be
assigned a negative code like torture. To achieve results, efforts should notably be made in
the fields of training and education. It is necessary to:

-      provide and/or reinforce training on the different aspects of domestic violence for
       law enforcement officers, magistrates, lawyers and all professionals dealing with
       the victims of violence (medical professions, social workers, etc);

-      increase women‟s awareness by informing them about their rights so that they are
       fully equipped to stop violence at the earliest possible stage;

-      introduce a gender equality perspective at all levels of education in order to combat
       stereotypes from the earliest age;

-      provide training for all teachers and educators so that they incorporate gender
       equality questions into their education;

-      organise campaigns to inform the public and raise its awareness;

-      organise campaigns via the media, which should not focus on the sensational
       aspects of violence, but objectively present the causes and effects of domestic

-      promote and widely circulate educational material (books, documentation, CD-
       ROMs, studies);

-      set up national and international databases (useful addresses, lists of NGOs, good
       practices, legislation, statistics) and use new information technologies (Internet) to
       link up all the institutions concerned.


          During the Forum, a discussion was held on the preparation of a draft European
legal instrument to combat violence against women. This took place in the framework of
the action undertaken by the Steering Committee for equality between women and men
(CDEG), which has recently entrusted a Group of specialists with the task of preparing a
draft Recommendation to member States on the protection of women and young girls
against violence. The participants' contributions have been taken up in the general
conclusions and will be transmitted to the Group of Specialists.

         The participants welcomed the idea of a recommendation adopted by the
Committee of Ministers, in view of the positive impact it would have on the visibility and
recognition of violence against women. In particular, it was considered that this
recommendation was a step towards the elaboration of a more binding legal instrument
such as a convention.

          The adoption of an international instrument should lead to an improvement of
legislation and measures carried out by governments and NGOs with a view to combating
violence against women and young girls.

         It was stressed that this recommendation should take inspiration from different
examples and good practices existing in other parts of the world, while recognising the
need to implement interdependent measures that result from a global approach.

        The participants underlined that a legal instrument of this kind should draw on
fundamental principles such as the respect for basic human rights and the effective
implementation of equality between women and men. In this respect, the crucial assistance
and support role played by NGOs and women's organisations should be given priority.


          The participants note that the numerous actions launched by the Council of
Europe to combat violence against women have substantially assisted in increasing the
visibility of the problem. In particular, the Action Plan recently published under the aegis
of the Steering Committee for equality between women and men (CDEG) is an effective
platform on which to formulate national measures.

          It is generally felt that the Council of Europe performs a major function in the
combat to prevent domestic violence. The need to work towards fuller harmonisation of
European national legislation and enhance international co-operation can be the basis for
action at the European level.

         The participants further propose specific activities relating to the main themes of
the Forum, which could be conducted in the Council of Europe or with its assistance, as

-      continue and complete with all dispatch the preparation of the draft
       Recommendation on protecting women and young girls against violence, which is
       proceeding under the aegis of the Steering Committee for equality between women
       and men (CDEG). Once adopted, the Recommendation may serve as a reference
       for national policies on the prevention of violence;

-      make a study to ascertain the position as regards legislation and good practices in
       the member States;

-      prepare an inventory of available statistics and consider the possibility of defining
       criteria and guidelines for the production of more uniform, comparable statistics;

-   propose an outline, adaptable to each country, for training and information
    handbooks directed at judges, members of the police force and medical

-   enhance co-operation with NGOs;

-   promote co-operation between Council of Europe committees and other competent
    bodies in order to institute a global strategy for combating domestic violence;

-   include in the programme of activities for the development and consolidation of
    democratic security (ADACS) training schemes in the field of fundamental
    women's rights and violence against women;

-   form a study group on stereotyped representations of both boys and girls in
    advertising directed at children;

-   consider preparing criteria and guidelines for action programmes aimed at violent

-   consider including equality between women and men as one of the issues covered
    when monitoring compliance with obligations undertaken by Council of Europe
    member States.

                                CLOSING ADDRESS

                         by Ms Norica Nicolai (Romania),
             State Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection

         I am very pleased that the Council of Europe‟s annual Information Forum on
National Policies in the Field of Equality between Women and Men has been held this
year in Bucharest.

       There are several reasons why the theme “Ending domestic violence: action
and measures” has attracted particular interest, including:

-        the complexity of the problem, demanding a multidisciplinary approach;

-        the widespread nature of domestic violence in all social classes and categories
         (and the fact that it used to be a taboo subject in Romania);

-        the social problems it causes (in terms of family breakdown and children‟s

          I found the choice of topics for the four working groups highly interesting and
relevant, making for fruitful debate and enabling conclusions to be drawn that will help
both political decision makers and civil society in preventing and tackling domestic
violence. I should like to underscore the idea, mentioned by most of those who spoke,
that government and non-government agencies and authorities should work together on
preventing violent behaviour.

        Drawing on the conclusions and proposals that emerged from the working
groups, we can highlight several areas for immediate action to address our concerns.
They are:

-        clarifying the concepts used in identifying and interpreting domestic violence;

-        defining and developing standard assessment indicators for use in describing
         and comparing national situations in the Council of Europe member countries;

-        training lawyers and police officers who specialise in preventing and
         combating domestic violence;

-        raising public awareness through the media;

-        adopting and implementing measures to protect children who are victims of
         domestic violence;

-        mounting and supporting national, regional and local anti-violence campaigns;

-        setting up databases that all the countries can access, on both the phenomenon
         of domestic violence and the existing victim-support services;

          I agree that we need a European legal instrument to combat violence against
women, giving governments duties and responsibilities both with regard to legislation
and in terms of educational, health and media-related measures.

         Last but not least, I think it is important to encourage co-operation between
the Council of Europe member states at both governmental and non-governmental level
in order to identify priorities and take the most effective measures, on the basis of
exchanges of information and experience between experts in the field.

          I should like to thank all those who took part in the forum for accepting the
invitation to come and for their contributions to our discussions and their proposals.

         Likewise, I am grateful to the rapporteurs, the working groups and the general
rapporteur for the energy they have invested in the proceedings and the way they have
summarised the most interesting ideas, experiences and proposals throughout.

          Special thanks are due to the Council of Europe secretariat for the hard work
that has enabled the forum to proceed without a hitch.

        I should also like to thank the interpreters, the World Trade Centre and
everyone who contributed in any way to the organisation and running of the event.

                                 CLOSING ADDRESS

                               by Mr Hanno HARTIG
                   Head of Division II, Directorate of Human Rights
                                  Council of Europe

          We are now approaching the end of this 7th Forum on national policies in the
field of equality between women and men. I must admit that it is one of the most
interesting I have ever attended because of both the nature of the subject and the
standard of the discussions.

         To begin with I would like to thank all those who have helped make it a
success. My first thanks go to the Romanian Government and to you, Madam Chair,
and to all of your team at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, for your
hospitality and the perfect technical organisation of the forum. I would also like to
thank the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men and its Chair, Ms
Méchin, for having chosen the theme of the forum and taken such great care in
preparing the discussions, and the French Government for its generous assistance in
organising this forum. Then I would also like to thank the keynote speaker and the
rapporteurs for their excellent reports and the chairs of the discussion groups. The
general rapporteur, Ms Gabriela Adameşteanu, who has just presented her outstanding
conclusions, deserves our warmest congratulations. The final version of her
conclusions will be sent to you shortly and will be translated into Romanian.

        I would also like to thank all those who have attended the forum, particularly
those who have come a great distance to take part in our discussions. May I take this
opportunity to praise the painstaking efforts of all the members of the Equality Section
of the Council of Europe, headed by Ms Ólafsdóttir and Ms Piquet, who deserve our
thanks. Last but not least let me also thank the interpreters who enabled us to
communicate with one another.

          In keeping with the very best traditions of the Council of Europe, this forum
provided a platform for the exchange of ideas and for dialogue between experts,
politicians and representatives of NGOs and an opportunity to discuss matters on an
equal footing. Once again we have been able to see how useful such discussions are
for our work at the Council of Europe. You have shared your knowledge, experiences
and ideas with us and thus made a major contribution to the work of the Steering
Committee for Equality and, in particular, of its Group of Specialists, which is
currently preparing a recommendation on the protection of women and girls against
violence for the attention of the governments of our member states. This group will be
able to make good use of the results of the forum in its work.

         The subject was, of course, not a new one. I admit that I was most impressed
by the efforts that have already been made in many countries to combat violence in the
family and I was alarmed at the information we were given concerning the extent of
such violence. Nevertheless, it appears to me that the issue is still too frequently stifled
by taboos, prejudice and complete ignorance. I trust that this forum will have shown
that action to counter violence in the family is part of a much wider campaign to
promote and develop human rights and establish genuine democracy in Europe. The
issue is one which concerns the whole of society. I also trust that this experience has
been of value to each of you and that you will return home full of ideas and strategies
that can be implemented in your own country. Perhaps our forum has provided the
opportunity to make a new start in combating violence against women and violence in
the family…

         In this connection, I would like to comment on the questions which, in my
opinion, will, in future, require most attention. This forum has clearly shown that any
work in this field must be based on knowledge and research, not only so as to reveal
the mechanisms of violence but also to draw more attention to the issue and highlight
the extent to which it is detrimental to the harmonious development of our societies.

         Such visibility is necessary to create the political will required to combat
violence and reduce the extent to which it is tolerated.

         Our discussions also showed us that we must gradually scrap sectoral policies
based on random measures and replace them with co-ordinated strategies involving all
sectors of society. This comprehensive approach, of which we have heard some
encouraging examples, is no doubt the one we must adopt in future. Although priority
must obviously be given to protecting and helping women who are victims of violence,
we must at the same time follow another course, ie we must teach boys and men not to
use violence so that they understand that violence is never a solution.

       In conclusion, I hope that this forum has been an important step on the road to
achieving equality between woman and men and towards improving the lives of
everyone, both individually and collectively. I wish you all a safe journey home.

                                   APPENDIX 1

                            LIST OF PARTICIPANTS



Ms Lavdie RUCI, c/o Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Rruga e Kavajes, TIRANA


Ms Veronika VERZETNITSCH, Intervention Agency-Vienna, Amerlingstrasse 1/6, A -
1060 WIEN

Mr Valentin WEDL, Member of the Group of specialists EG-S-FV, Federal
Chancellery, Dep. VII 1/a, Radetzkystr. 2, A – 1031 VIENNA


Mme Jivka MARINOVA, Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, 12 Lubenkaravelov
Str., Ap.11, BG – 1000 SOFIA


Ms Ksenija BAUER, Commission of the Government for equality, Ministry of Labour and
Social Welfare, Prisavlje 13, 10000 ZAGREB


Ms Eleni LOIZIDOU, Legal Department, NICOSIA


Mr Filip CERNY, Ministry of Interior, Department of Crime prevention, Section for
Human Rights, Nad Stolou 3, P.O. Box 21/OP, CZ – 17034 PRAHA 7


Ms Agnete ANDERSEN, Special Adviser, Ministry of Labour, Holmens Kanal 20, DK -


Ms Reet LAJA, Member of the Bureau of the CDEG, Head of Personnel and Training
Department, Ministry of Social Affairs of Estonia, Gonsiori 29, EE – 15027 TALLINN

Mr Peeter MAIMIK, Estonian Family Fund, Tonismagi 8A, EE – TALLINN


Ms Leena AHTI, Provincial State Office of Southern Finland, Ratapihantie 9, SF -

Ms Kristiina KANGASPUNTA, Programme Officer, European Institute for Crime
Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United nations (HEUNI), Ministry of Justice,
P.O. Box 161, SF – 00131 HELSINSKI

Ms Pirkko KIVIAHO, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Box 267,

Ms Leena RUUSUVUORI, Project Manager, National Project for the Prevention of
Violence against Women, National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and
Health (STAKES), P.O. Box 220, SF - 00531 HELSINKI


Mme Béatrice FLORENTIN, Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, Service des Droits
des Femmes, 31 rue Le Peletier, F - 75009 PARIS

Mme Caroline MECHIN, Présidente du Comité Directeur pour l’Egalité entre les
Femmes et les Hommes (CDEG), Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, Service des
Droits des Femmes, 31 rue Le Peletier, F - 75009 PARIS

Mme Viviane MONNIER, Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, 32-34 rue des
Envierges, F - 75020 PARIS

M. Etienne LEGROS, Ministère de l‟Intérieur, Direction Centrale de la Sécurité Publique,
Place Beauvau, F - 75800 PARIS Cedex 08


Ms Dr Silvia BERKE, Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend,
Rochusstrasse 8-10, D – 53123 BONN


Mme Iphigénie KATSARIDOU, Membre du Bureau du CDEG, Hellenic General
Secretariat for Equality on the Sexes, Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and
Decentralisation, 20 Kaniggos Square, GR -10677 ATHENS


Mme Anna BETLEN, Ministère des Affaires sociales et de la Famille, Roosevelt ter 7-8,


Ms Gudrún AGNARSDÓTTIR, Chair of the Group of specialists on the protection of
women and young girls against violence (EG-S-FV), Rape Trauma Service Emergency
Department, City Hospital, IS - 112 REYKJAVIK

Ms Elsa THORKELSDÓTTIR, Member of the Bureau of the CDEG, Equal Status
Council, Posthusstr 13, IS - 121 REYKJAVIK


Mme Vittoria TOLA, Membre du Groupe de spécialistes EG-S-FV, Via del Giardino
Theodoli 66, I - 00186 ROME

Ms Lorenza MALUCCELLI, Comune di Bologna, Piazza XX Settembre 6, I -

Ms Giuditta CREAZZO, Casa delle Donne per non Subire Violenza, via dei Poeti 4, I -


Ms Edite KALNINA, Co-operation Council of Women‟s Organizations, 5 Audeju Str.,

Ms Evelina MELBARZDE, Second Secretary, International Organisations & Human
Rights Policy Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brivibas bulv. 36, LV - 1395 RIGA


Ms Ruta PABEDINSKIENE, Division of Family and Equal Opportunities, Ministry of
Social Security and Labour, A. Vivulskio str. 11, 2993 VILNIUS


Mme Maryse DONDELINGER, Fondation Maison de la Porte ouverte, Foyer Hôtel
Maternel, 38 rue d‟Anvers, L - 1130 LUXEMBOURG

Mme Christiane STEINES, CNFL – «Conseil National des Femmes Luxembourgeoises» -
Foyer Sud, 37 rue du Canal, L - 4050 ESCH / ALZETTE


Ms Jana COSTACHI, Ministère du Travail, de la Protection sociale et de la Famille, 1 rue
V. Alecsandri, CHISINAU


Ms Rachel Moni PAUL, Norwegian Peoples Aid, P.B. 8844 YOUNGSTORGET, N -
0028 OSLO


Mme Teresa BOCHWIC, Fondation «l‟Institut d‟Education civique et de promotion des
femmes», PL - VARSOVIE


Mme Ana Maria BRAGA CRUZ, Comissãu p. Igualdade e Direitos das Mulheres, R.
Ferreira Borges 69, 2e C, P - 4050 PORTO


Mme Norica NICOLAI, Secretar de Stat, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale

Mme Anca CONSTANTIN, Consilier al ministrului, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei
Sociale, Activitatea pentru promovarea şi respectarea drepturilor femeii

M. Sorin BOTEZATU, Consilier al ministrulul, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale,
Activitatea pentru promovarea si respectarea drepturilor femeii

Mme Daniela SEMENESCU, Director general, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale
Activitatea pentru promovarea şi respectarea drepturilor femeii

Mme Edwina SOPON, Director, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, Activitatea
pentru promovarea şi respectarea drepturilor femeii

M.dr. Cornel CRETU, Expert, Centrul Pilot de Asistenţă si Protecţie a Victimelor
Violenţei in Familie

M. Bogdan DOBRESCU, Director, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, Direcţia
generală de relaţii internaţionale şi integrare europeană

M. Petru BLANARIU, Şef serviciu, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, Direcţia
generală de relaţii internaţionale şi integrare europeană

M. Cristian SPIRESCU, Director, Ministerul Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, Direcţia
generală de relaţii internaţionale şi integrare europeană

Mme Magda LAZĂR, Romanian Presidency

M. Marian CAZANGIU, Romanian Presidency

Ms Paula IVANESCU, Vice-Preşedinte a Camerei Deputaţilor

Mme Rodica Mihaela STĂNOIU, Senator, Preşedinte, Comisia pentru Drepturile Omului

Mme Mariana STOICA, Deputat, Preşedinte, Comisia de Integrare Europeană a Camerei

Mme Ecaterina LEPĂDATU, Avocatul Poporului

M. Cristian DIACONESCU, Director general, Ministerul Afacesilor Externe

Mme Irina MOROIANU ZLĂTESCU, Preşedinte, Institutul Român pentru Drepturile

M. Mihai CIUPERCESCU, Camera Puterilor Locale a Europei

M. Cătălin ZAMFIR, Director, Institutul de Cercetare a Calităţii Vieţii

Mme Elena ZAMFIR

Ms Cecilia BĂLTEANU, expert, Ministerul Afacesilor Externe

M. Gheorghe FLORIAN, Direcţia penitenciare

M.Marian CAZANGIU, Consilier, Preşedinţia României


Ms Vera GRATCHEVA,               Ministry    of   Foreign    Affairs,     Vozdvizjenka   9,
121019 MOSCOW

Mme Inna SELIVANOVA, Membre du Groupe de spécialistes EG-S-FV,
2 Zvenigorodskay Street, 15 MOSCOU

Mme Marina ZAKHARINA, Moscow Bar Association, MOSCOU


Ms Giovanna CRESCENTINI, Head of Section Equality between Women and Men the
State Institutional Secretariat, Piazza della Libertà, 47890 SAN MARINO

Mme Laura BOLOGNA, Représentant permanent adjoint, Représentation permanente de
la République de Saint-Marin auprès du Conseil de l‟Europe, 10 rue Sainte-Odile, F -


Ms Zuzana VRANOVÁ, Member of the Bureau of the CDEG, The International Centre
for Family studies, Drotárska cesta, 81104 BRATISLAVA

Ms Anna ŠLAPKOVÁ, National Gender Centre Panenská 24, 81103 BRATISLAVA


Ms Violeta NEUBAUER, The Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Women‟s Policy
office, Tomšièeva 4, 1000 LJUBLJANA


Ms Maria Belén GARCIA DE ANDOAIN, Instituto de la Mujer, Ministerio de Trabajo y
Asuntos Sociales, C/ Condesa de Venadito, 34, E - 28027 MADRID

Mr Santiago URIOS MOLINER, Membre du Groupe de spécialistes EG-S-FV,
Universidad Jaume I de Castellon, Campus de Riu Sec, Apartado de Correos 224, E -


Mr Max BJUHR, First Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Division for Central and
Eastern Europe, S - 103 39 STOCKHOLM

Mr Per Elis ELIASSON, Manscentrum (Crisiscenter for men), Götgatan 83 D, S -


Mme Lucienne GILLIOZ, 20 Chemin de la Gradelle, CH - 1224 CHENE-BOUGERIES


Ms Mjellma MEHMETI, Humanitarian Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and
Equality of Women, «Partizanski odredi» 37/I-24, 91000 SKOPJE


Ms Cânân ARIN, Member of the Group of specialists EG-S-FV, President of the
Turkish Association for the prevention of violence against women, Beyoğlu, Straselviler
Cad. 180/10, TK - 80060 ISTANBUL


Ms Irene KUROLENKO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 Mykhailivska sq, 252018 KYIV


Ms Helene REARDON BOND, Women's Unit Cabinet Office, 10 George St, UK -

Ms Liz KELLY, Child and Woman Abuse, Studies Unit, 52-66 Highbury Grove, UK -

Ms Maureen CONNOLLY, Birmingham Women‟s Aid, 25 Spring Road, Edgbaston,



Mr Mikalai BARYSEVICH, First Secretary Humanitarian Cooperation Department,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Belarus

Mr Anatoly M. BIRYUKOV, Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in
Romania, Şos Kiseleff 55, vila 6, Sector 1, RO - BUCHAREST


Ms Carole MORENCY, Conseillère juridique, Section de la famille, des enfants et des
adolescents, Ministrèe de la Justice, 284 rue Wellington, OTTAWA (Ontario) -


General Rapporteur/Rapporteuse Générale

Mme Gabriela ADAMEŞTEANU, Rédactrice en chef de "22", Calea Victoriei nr. 120,
Secteur 1, RO - 70179 BUCHAREST

Keynote Speaker/Oratrice Liminaire

Ms Carol HAGEMANN-WHITE, University of Osnabrück, Heger-Tor-Wall 9, D -


Mme Maryse JASPARD, Maître de Conférence, Institut de Démographie, Université de
Paris I, Centre P. Mendès-France, 90 rue de Tolbiac, F - 75634 PARIS CEDEX 13

Mr Per ISDAL, Alternative to Violence, Korsgt. 28B, N - 0551 OSLO

Ms Astrid KECKEIS, Federal Chancellery, Department for Women‟s Affairs - Sektion
VII, Ballhausplatz 1, A - 1014 VIENNA

Ms Urszula NOWAKOWSKA, Women's Rights Center, Ul. Wilcza 60 apt. 19, PL -
00679 WARSAW




Ms Elena POPTODOROVA, National Assembly, N°2 Place narodno Sobranye, 1169
SOFIA - Bulgarie


Mr Per WIUM, Chair of the CDSP, Norwegian Board of Health, Box 8128 Dep., N -
0032 OSLO



Ms Ivana GORANIC, Deputy Head of Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Meduliæeva 36, 10000 ZAGREB - Croatia


Mme Laura GRUNBERG, Centre européen pour l‟enseignement supérieur, RO -


Ms Kyoko POSTILL, UNDP in Bucharest

Ms Olena SKWIECIŃSKA, UN Centre, Aleja Niepodległośi 186, PL - WARSAW




Prof. Dr. Anca DUMITRESCU, Romanian Institute for Educational Sciences, Str. Aviator
Th. Iliescu 39, Sector 1, RO - BUCHAREST


Ms Mary COLLINS, Coordinatrice du Centre européen contre la violence à l‟encontre des
femmes, Lobby européen des femmes, 22 rue du Méridien, B - 1210 BRUXELLES


Ms Smaranda DOBRESCU MP, President of the Women‟s Organisation, Romanian
Social Democratic Party, str. Dem. I. Dobrescu 9, Sector 1, 70119 BUCHAREST -


Ms Rosa LOGAR, Austrian Women‟s Shelter Network, Hofgasse 9/1/4, A -


Mme Floretina BOCIOC, Reprezentant, Societatea de Analize Feministe ANA

Ms Sorina BUMBULUT, Centrul de consiliere împotriva violenţei şi abuzului sexual, Str.
Sidicatelor No 4, RO - 3400 CLUJ-NAPOCA

Mme Paula IACOB, Preşedinte, Asociaţia Femeilor de Carieră Juridică din România

Mme Daniela IANCU, Reprezentant, Societatea de Educaţie Contraceptivă şi Sexuală -

Ms Doina Ioana IGNAT, Asociaţia Femeilor intreprinzătoare, Gheorghe Pop de Băsesti nr.

Mme Smaranda IONESCU, Preşedinte, Liga Naţională a Femeilor din România

Sevim IRFAN, Arhitect, Asociaţia Femeilor Musulmane

Mme Georgiana MACAVEI, Reprezentant, Liga pentru Apărarea Drepturilor Omului

Mme Miralena MAMINA, Reprezentant, Salvaţi copiii

Mme Ecaterina MOLDOVEANU, Preşedinte, Societatea Naţională a Femeilor ortodoxe

Mme Maria MUGA, Preşedinte, Uniunea Naţională pentre Drepturile Femeii

Mme Mădălina NICOLAESCU, Preşedinte, GENDER

Liliana PAGU, Preşedinte, Asociaţia Femeilor din România

Mme Rodica ŞERBĂNESCU, Preşedinte, Asociaţia Română pentru Drepturie Femeii

M. Valentin BOJAN, Asociaţia Română Naţiunile Unite

Mme Florentina MURGESCU, Asociaţia pentru drepturile culturale

Mme Aurelia FLOREA, Liga independentâ Română pentru drepturile copilului

Mme Irina PATRULIS, Asociaţia Română pentru drepturile omului la vârsta A - III - a

Mme Florentina MURGESCU, Asociaţia pentru drepturile culturale

Mme Aurelia FLOREA, Liga independentă romăniă pentru drepturile copucului

Mme Irina PATRULIS, Asociaţia romăniă pentru drepturile omului la vărsta A – III - a


M. Pierre-Henri IMBERT, Directeur des Droits de l'Homme

M. Hanno HARTIG, Chef de la Division II, Direction des Droits de l'Homme

Mme Ólöf ÓLAFSDÓTTIR, Chef de la Section Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes,
Secrétaire du CDEG, Direction des Droits de l'Homme

Mme Sophie PIQUET, Administratrice, Section Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes,
Direction des Droits de l'Homme

Ms Veronika WILLIAMS, Administratrice, Charte Sociale, Direction des Droits de

Ms Karen PALISSER, Assistante administrative principale, Section Égalité entre les
femmes et les hommes, Direction des Droits de l'Homme

Ms Amanda RAIF, Assistante administrative, Section Égalité entre les femmes et les
hommes, Direction des Droits de l'Homme

Mme Béatrice ANDLAUER, Assistante administrative, Section Égalité entre les femmes
et les hommes, Direction des Droits de l'Homme


Mme Agnès NOLLINGER - Administratrice - Secrétaire de la Commission sur
l‟égalité des chances pour les femmes et les hommes au Greffe de l‟Assemblée

Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe

Mme Mirella HAGIOPOL, Directrice, 6 rue Al. Donici, RO - 70224 BUCAREST



Mme Florentina ADAMESCU, Radio Vocea Speramţei

M. Valentin BRUSTUR, Cotidianul

M. Ion FRÂNCU, «Dreptatea»

M. Eugen GEORGESCU, Tele 7 ABC

M. Vladimir GORDUZA, «Românul»

Mme Nicoleta JITIANU, Tele 7 ABC

Mme Eugenia MIRCESCU, «Evenimentul Zilei»

M. Marian MOCANU, «Rompres»

Mme Corina MOMOCEA, Ziarul «ZIUA»

Mme Erica NEUMAER, A.M. Press

M. Ion PITOIU, «Mesagerul Economic»

Mme Andreea SIMONA MIHAI, «Curentul»

Mme Anca Layinia ŞTEFAN, Radio Vocea Speramţei

Mme Andreea UNTURICA, Mediafax

Mme Gabriela VLĂSCEANU, Jurnalul Naţional



Mme Anca-Marina BUREA, bvd Aviatorilor 51-53, Sector 1, RO - BUCAREST

Mr Alcor CRISAN, Post Restant, Bucarest 22, RO - 70308 BUCAREST
Mme Rodica FLORESCU, 8-10 Plantelor, bât. A, et. 10, appt. 31, sect. 2, RO -
70308 BUCAREST 2

Mlle Barbara GRUT, 6 rue Auguste Lamey, F - 67000 STRASBOURG

Mme Silvia STATESCU, Intr. Dr. Felix Nr. 2, Bloc M4, Scara C, Etaj 8, Apartament 239,
Sector 1, RO - BUCURESTI

                                  APPENDIX 2


EG/BUC (98) 1           Programme

EG/BUC (98) 2             Explanatory note on the General theme

EG/BUC (98) 3                 Keynote speech on the General theme by Ms Carol
                          HAGEMANN-WHITE (Germany)

Sub-theme 1               Confronting domestic violence and its consequences

EG/BUC (98) 4             Report by Ms Maryse JASPARD (France)

Sub-theme 2               Assistance and support for victims

EG/BUC (98) 5             Report by Ms Astrid KECKEIS (Austria)

Sub-theme 3               Working with perpetrators

EG/BUC (98) 6             Report by Mr Per ISDAL (Norway)

Sub-theme 4               Prevention of domestic violence

EG/BUC (98) 7             Report by Ms Urszula NOWAKOWSKA (Poland)


EG/BUC (98) 8             Reports of the Working Groups

EG/BUC (98) 9             General conclusions


EG-S-VL (97) 1            Final report of activities of the Group of specialists for
                          combating violence against women (EG-S-VL) including a
                          Plan of Action for combating violence against women

EG-S-VL (98) 1            Summary of the Plan of Action to combat violence against

Proceedings of the seminar “Promoting equality: a common issue for men and women”,
                           Strasbourg, June 1997
MEG-3 (93) 22       “Strategies for the elimination of violence against women in
                    society: the media and other means” (Declarations and
                    resolutions adopted by the 3rd European ministerial
                    Conference on equality between women and men), Rome,
                    October 1993

                    Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women,
                    adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations

EG/NGO/SEM (98) 8   Conclusions by Ms G. Ashworth of the seminar “action
                    against traffic in human beings for the purpose of sexual
                    exploitation: the role of NGOs”, Strasbourg, June 1998

EG (96) 2           Plan of action against traffic in women and forced
                    prostitution by Ms M. Hirsch

R (91) 11           Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member
                    States concerning sexual exploitation, pornography and
                    prostitution of, and trafficking in, children and young adults

R (90) 2            Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member
                    States on social measures concerning violence within the

R (85) 4            Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member
                    States on violence in the family

Rec. 1325 (1997)    Recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly on traffic
                    in women and forced prostitution in Council of Europe
                    member States

Doc. 7785           Report of the Parliamentary Assembly on traffic in women
                    and forced prostitution in Council of Europe member States,
                    by Ms R. Wohlwend

EG (98) 2           Council of Europe action in the field of equality between
                    women and men

MEG-4 (97) 18       “Democracy and equality between women and men”
                    (Declarations and resolutions of the 4th European ministerial
                    Conference on equality between women and men), Istanbul,
                    November 1997

EG-S-MS (98) 2      Final report of activities on gender mainstreaming –
                    conceptual framework, methodology and presentation of
                    good practices

                    List of documents concerning equality between women and

Proceedings of the forum   “National machinery to promote equality between women
                           and men in central and eastern European countries”,
                           Ljubljana, November 1994

EG/MG (96) 2 rev.          Final report of activities of the joint specialist group on
                           migration, cultural diversity and equality of women and men

                           The European Convention on Human Rights as amended by
                           Protocol No. 11


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