Mar 04, 2024 Rights

The European Federation of Retired and Elderly People is identified as a recognized organisation representing older people, with 10 million members in 21 European countries.

Today, through its Women’s Committee expresses its disappointment and incomprehension towards the final deal regarding the Directive on violence against women and domestic violence.

The negotiators of the Council and the European Parliament meeting in the so-called “trilogue” notwithstanding a proliferation of appeals from the civil society – reached an agreement cutting from its directive the criminalization of rape as a “lack of consent” requiring only the Members States to “raise awareness” of sexual consent and promote a “culture based” on consent.

FERPA nevertheless acknowledges the progress of the first European regulation to combat violence against women which criminalizes other forms of violence against women, such as forced marriage, non-consensual sharing of intimate or manipulated material and female genital mutilation (FGM). It also closes legal loopholes regarding cyberviolence, including online harassment, cyber stalking and “cyber flashing”. These rules will also apply to the sharing of pornographic images generated by artificial intelligence.

The issue therefore remains exclusively in the hands of Estate members to legislate after the clear division on the subject between the EU states and to strengthen the measures of protection, prosecution, justice aimed at preventing rape, compensation and better support for victim’s and survivor’s rights from offenders for damages resulting from the offence of violence against women or domestic violence which are part of the Directive

Nonetheless, it appears as a missed historical opportunity to really protect women from rape, which is a significant and an under-recognised phenomenon, having a wide-ranging health impact also as domestic abuse of older women who have experienced it. This result is not only deceiving but especially unacceptable in Europe, which is a region demographically characterised by ageing.

FERPA and its members at national level will keep their pressure in order to get at national level stronger legislations.