Paris, France, November 2019 – The United Nations have designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. According to the UN, “Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.” Aware of the importance of countering this phenomenon at the local authority level, Efus has long committed to the local prevention of violence against women.
> Practical recommendations for local authorities in Efus’ Manifesto
The Manifesto is a political platform on urban security drawn up by Efus, which expresses the values and principles that underpin its action and that of its members. The “Security, Democracy and Cities: Co-producing urban security policies” manifesto was produced on the occasion of the international conference organised by Efus, the city of Barcelona and the Government of Catalonia in November 2017, in Barcelona.
It includes practical recommendations to local authorities to prevent violence against women and girls. Efus notably recommends that:
- Local authorities be involved in strategies against gender violence. Their role in the field of prevention and victim support must be recognised and strongly supported by national governments as well as European and international institutions.
- Policies should take into account all spheres where violence against women takes place: in the public and private spaces, in schools, at work and during their free time, on public transport, and in cyberspace.
- Better knowledge about violence against women should be developed to fill the data gap and systematic underreporting. This must be achieved through the implementation of specific security audits and the publication of statistics and detailed reports on the subject in order to make the true extent of the phenomenon visible.
- Means suitable for this major phenomenon must be allocated to prevent and counter it.
- Local and regional authorities should develop prevention policies that enable women to assert and exercise their rights and provide accessible assistance and support to victims.
- All violence against women should be recognised by law as reprehensible everywhere and a more standardised European legal framework should be defined.
> Promoting the exchange of practices
As part of the “Just and Safer Cities for All” (JUST) European project, Efus led a consortium of European partners to promote the exchange of promising practices and draw up recommendations to develop or strengthen local strategies against discriminatory violence. A publication was released at the end of this project, which presents the state of the art of local strategies against hate and intolerance and includes local practices as well as practical recommendations.
Some of these local practices tackle violence against women and girls, such as:
– The “Stop cybersexism” campaign of the Hubertine Auclert centre in Paris (France, 2016), which designed and distributed a kit to fight cybersexism that includes posters and brochures. The kit explains what cybersexism is and how to respond to it. The advertisements were featured in the Paris public transport system and on social media.
– Malmö’s (Sweden) integrated programme against domestic violence is based on the practical needs of women who are victim of violence. The scheme thus provides medical assistance in case of physical injury, help to file a complaint, and support for women until they get out of an abusive relationship.
For more information and practices, please refer to the publication Preventing Discriminatory Violence at the Local Level: Practices and Recommendations.
> Working together with Efus to tackle violence against women and girls
In 2018, Efus set up the working group on “Just and Safer Cities for All”, which is led jointly by the cities of Vienna (AT) and Bordeaux (FR). This group promotes human rights by fostering the adoption of better policies to prevent discriminatory violence, thus making cities safer for all their inhabitants.