GAP III thematic area of engagement : Ensuring freedom from all forms of gender-based violence

This section presents the GAP III objectives and related indicators for GAP III thematic area 1: Ensuring freedom from all forms of gender-based violence.

Every human being has the right to live a life free from all forms of violence. However, this is far from being a reality. Multiple forms of gender-based violence against women and girls -or violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionally persist in every country, constituting one of the most widespread and under-reported forms of human rights violations.

Women and girls with disabilities, of minority groups, migrant women and girls, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual and queer (LGBTIQ) are among the groups particularly at risk.

Gender-based violence

Rooted in harmful social norms and stereotypes across cultures and social classes, gender-based violence affects all communities at tremendous cost for victims, their families, societies and economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll with a substantial increase in femicide and gender-based violence, including domestic violence, in many parts of the world.

The EU has funded a broad range of initiatives and programmes worldwide aiming to end all forms of gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage (CEFM), female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-biased selection (preferring sons at birth), etc.

Special emphasis is placed on the dire effects of conflict-related sexual violence, as it is a crime against humanity and a war crime, usually committed against women of all ages, as well as men and boys, to punish, subjugate and/or destroy whole communities or populations.

The Gender Action Plan III promotes EU actions that contribute to:

  • increasing protection – by supporting legislation criminalising all forms of gender-based violence and capacity building of law enforcement institutions, in line with international legal and policy frameworks (specifically the Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, “Istanbul Convention”)
  • promoting prevention – by challenging harmful gender norms, working with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a victim-centred approach and measures that end recidivism by perpetrators, also engaging men and boys, traditional and religious leaders
  • contributing to increasing prosecution of perpetrators including those involved in human trafficking by strengthening a victim-centred approach by the law-enforcement bodies;
  • increasing protection of survivors also by supporting access to life-saving social and justice services with a survivor-centred approach, particularly in fragile and conflict/post-conflict settings or when survivors face intersecting discriminations
  • supporting access to psycho-social support services and participation in economic and social life of victims of gender-based violence and victims of trafficking in human beings;
  • safe and quality humanitarian actions that support preparedness, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence and the work of the Call to Action
  • strengthening women's rights organisations and social movements as well as civil society organisations (CSOs) working on the intersectional dimension of gender-based violence and of conflict-related sexual violence

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