1. Current situation
Violence against women (gender violence) is a problem that affects all EU Member States, as the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the EU showed in its survey in 2014. This survey showed, for instance, that one in three women (33% of women in the EU) had experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. When these figures were given by country, the survey showed that there was not a single Member State where violence against women affected less than 10% of the female population. In other words, this problem affects the whole EU, and thus an EU approach is necessary. This need to deal with this issue at EU level has been reiterated by the European Parliament, which in February 2016 reminded the European Commission of their call for an EU directive on combating violence against women, as requested by the Parliament already in 2014. The Parliament also called for zero tolerance towards this type of violence.
2. Needs that the project aims to address
Fighting gender violence requires the full commitment of different professionals. Among those professionals are lawyers. This is because violence will nearly always involve a criminal or civil claim, and a lawyer is an essential tool to achieve a successful result with that. Therefore, this project aims to have better trained lawyers at national level but also in relation to the relevant EU legislation (eg: Regulation (EU) 606/2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters, Directive 2011/99/EU on the European Protection Order and Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime) – while at the same time giving the participating lawyers the benefit of the experience of other Member States.
The main project objective is to train 210 lawyers from 7 different jurisdictions (Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Northern Ireland and England & Wales) on national law and EU legislation related to violence against women, while enriching them with the experience from other Member States through the participation of international speakers in the seminars to be held at national level. There will be 7 national seminars where international speakers will participate and explain how this topic is addressed in their Member State, with the aim of passing on good practices. Another project objective is to promote networking between lawyers participating in the national seminars and speakers. This networking will give the project a dimension which is both national (between the national participants in the seminars) and cross-border (between participants and speakers). Finally, this project will also contribute towards the EU’s proposed objective of enabling half of the legal practitioners in the European Union to participate in European judicial training activities by 2020.
4. Target group
The project targets directly those lawyers who will participate in the 7 seminars and those who will access the seminar material that will be available online (on the European Lawyers Foundation website). Indirectly, the project will target and benefit those women who are suffering (or may suffer) violence as women and who require the help of a lawyer. Lawyers are very often the first point of contact for women who suffer gender violence. Furthermore, lawyers are in a perfect position to identify possible future cases of gender violence which can arise through family disputes.
This project is financed with the support of the Daphne Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the project’s partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.