International Women's Day 8th of March 2017

A challenge for the Belgian Soroptimists?


Directives to protect victims of violence in the EU

The EU is committed to better rights for the annually 75 million EU victims.

To ensure minimum level of victims' rights in all Member States, the EU recently adopted several EU legal instruments setting up common rules aimed at protecting and assisting victims of crime.

However, the legal basis to defend victims of violence is not yet applicable throughout the EU.

From 16 November 2015 this Directive will be binding for all Member States and they must implement the provisions of the Directive into their national laws .Member States should implement specialised services for the care and the support of victims. It is up to the Member States to decide themselves to which categories of victims they provide these special measures.

Belgium has opted to take measures for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

A recent survey by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has shown that in the EU, one out of three women, from the age of 15 years, have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence.

The figures for violence against women vary between the 28 Member States for several reasons, one of these reasons are the following:

  • the different cultures in the Member States
  • violence in some countries is seen as a private matter and therefore not reported by the victim to the police.
  • gender equality in the Member States; Member States with gender equality, record more the violence against women as a criminal offence.

Once the Directive is binding, DG Justice of the European Commission will draw up a report on the measures taken by the Member States on the protection of victims of violence. There are still some differences between the Member States as regards the set-up of specialised services and not all categories of victims are addressed.

As regards children and young girls especially (as victims of violence), Belgium should commit itself to take action.

Maybe a challenge for our Belgian Soroptimists...?


Carine Hanssens

President Soroptimist Club Beersel — legislative officer EC- DG justice-criminal law


More info on

DG JUST website:

FRA website:

Site designed by UltiNova