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While 1 in 3 women in Europe experiences physical or sexual violence, the states women pay taxes to continue to ensure little or no access to specialised support services. Only 15 out of 46 European countries provide a specialised helpline and more than 47,000 women’s shelter places are missing in Europe. Support centres for rape and sexual assault are not available. Discrimination hinders most vulnerable women from accessing support! “There is a serious underinvestment in specialised support services in many countries in Europe and as a consequence women have nowhere to turn for adequate help. We call on EU authorities, national governments and other interested parties in society to STEP UP investments to stop violence against women!“(Rosa Logar, WAVE president)

FB cover RomaniaToday, the Women against Violence Europe (WAVE) Network launches the European campaign Step up! In the next two years, WAVE members will promote the rights of women survivors of violence and their children to access support and protection throughout Europe. Violence against women and girls remains the most widespread form of human rights violation and it can be fatal –  in 2012, an estimated 47% of all homicides of women were committed by a family member or an intimate partner.
The under-investment in adequate support has to do with the wide-spread victim-blaming, also responsible for the under-reporting of violence. Most societies prohibit such violence but tacitly tolerate it in practice, so women have no alternative and endure repeated violence. The costs of this repeated violence affect all of us. Support services are vital to enable women and their children to seek safety and empowerment for violence-free lives.  Therefore we urge the European society to step up investments in specialized services that work from a women’s rights perspective and make a difference. Please see the attached video for more details.
Figures that speak about the lack of access to specialized services (WAVE Report 2015):

  • Only 15 out of 46 European countries provide a helpline that runs 24/7 and is free of charge
  • More than 47,000 women’s shelter places are missing in Europe, particularly in new EU member states that have joined after 2004 and non-EU member states , according to Council of Europe standards
  • Support centres for women and girls victims of rape and sexual assault are not available in most countries
  • Access to specialised support services is hindered for many women, including Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), migrant and undocumented migrant, differently-abled, elderly and LGBT women

The WAVE Network and its partners in Romania, the NGO networks Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence, the Network for Prevention and Combating of Violence Against Women and The Gender Equality Coalition  call on key decision-makers on national and European levels to:

  • 1) Actively support prevention and protection for victims of violence against women;
  • 2) Commit to improving access to specialised support services for ALL women and their children;
  • 3) Increase the availability of specialist support services in Europe (particularly women’s helplines, shelters and centres);
  • 4) Improve the quality of support services, which are best provided by independent women’s organisations that place women’s needs and rights at the heart of their work

         “Step up investments to support survivors”

Partnering for change is essential, and we call on each and every one of you! Join the Step up! Campaign!
For more information or to support the Step up! Campaign, please contact communication person at the organisation or contact the WAVE Office in Vienna – office@wave-network.org, +43 1 548 27 20
We call on the media to support the campaing by promoting the video message of the NGOs in Europe available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvcu2lZgpNE
View supporters in Romania