2012 | 2 | 205-226
Article title

Polityka europejsk a w kwestii przemocy w rodzinie wobec kobiet

Title variants
European Policy on Domestic Violence Against Women
Languages of publication
Solving the problem of violence against women, including domestic violence, has been a matter of importance for many international and regional organizations for years. The very same organizations create policy and legislation in order to realize human rights and combat all forms of discrimination. Therefore, the United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union have adopted dozens of documents, such as conventions, resolutions, recommendations, directives, strategies and programs, which contents bear witness to the deepening of the politicians’ knowledge and awareness of not only the complexity and gravity of violence against women, but also of the need to take decisive action to eliminate it from social life. In Europe at the turn of the century, there is no doubt that violence against women, in all its forms, committed largely by men on women, is a structural phenomenon, culturally conditioned and the reason for women’s inferior position in the modern world. Being omnipresent in all the spheres of private and public lives, it is not determined by the social status of the perpetrators or their victims. It generates high economic and social costs which prove difficult to assess, and it unquestionably constitutes a violation of human rights, not acceptable in a democratic world, causing much suffering among a significant percentage of female European inhabitants. Domestic violence in particular has been considered a phenomenon creating peculiarly severe consequences for women and children. With its destructive influence on their lives, it remains a severe and pervasive, yet hidden dilemma, which established in culture by centuries-old tradition, is overgrown with the myths and stereotypes, making it difficult to eradicate. There is no doubt that violence against women, including domestic violence, needs to be vanquished by any means necessary, and that is what state authorities are responsible for. The state is also obliged to provide effective protection of individuals against all forms of violence, both from the public officials and other individuals. Not only does it remain responsible for the citizen when the obligation to prevent the acts of violence has not been pursued with due diligence, but it is also liable for prosecution and punishment of perpetrators and compensation for victims for their suffering. But more importantly, state parliaments adopting the provisions governing these matters and being at the same time parties to international agreements, are constantly obliged to make every effort, especially a legislative one, to achieve the proposed standards of prevention, combating violence, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, not to mention help and support for victims. State authorities are reviewing their rules and introducing new laws which give better protection for victims of violence and provide them with better access to support. Domestic violence is considered an offense for which criminal sanctions may be imposed. Therefore, all the means to deter, isolate, prosecute and punish perpetrators are being adopted. There are many campaigns carried out and national strategies to combat this phenomenon implemented in order to sensitize the public on this issue. Despite these indubitable achievements, people who are particuarly vulnerable to experience violence are still protected to a varying extent in different European countries. The remedy for this state of affairs is to seek the ratification of international legal acts binding all the parties. Hence, in 2011 the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and took the initiative to develop and implement the EU Directive in this area of concern. However, it is not possible to achieve a success in eliminating all forms of violence against women in a short time. Even if all European countries adopt coordinated actions based on the foundation of good national law enabling a resolution of these issues, the question of awareness and involvement of authorities and institutions responsible for its implementation will remain. To become effective in solving the problem of violence against women, it is also necessary to increase public awareness and introduce far-reaching social changes leading to the empowerment of women in all spheres of social life. Nevertheless, it requires time, considerable funding, political will and long-term commitment on the part of legislators, executive authorities and governments.
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