The purpose of the present comparative report is to enhance EU member states’ policies against Gender Based Violence (GBV) by underlining the magnitude of the phenomenon across the EU and highlighting the complexity of the issues that have arisen within the refugee context especially in light of the increased refugee and migrant flows and the ensuing state of emergency. In line with the project proposal, the cross-country situation and capacity analysis in GBV aims to identify gaps and challenges but also good practices, as well as develop recommendations for a more comprehensive and better equipped prevention- and response strategy towards GBV, including at the level of individual case management. Improved and shared cross-country knowledge on GBV working methods and mechanisms is expected to contribute towards eliminating GBV at a European-wide level.
The primary question to address when comparing is why compare. This is crucial both in terms of outlining the scope of the present report as well as defining the basis of comparison and the relevance and validity of the findings. A critical parameter to consider, apart from the existing legal frameworks and the mapping of the service provisions across the national contexts, is the actual “functioning” of the relevant provisions, namely their implementation in practice and in view of beneficiaries’ needs. The particular context in which the relevant legal frameworks and strategies take shape and are being applied may differ from country to county but impacts on the formation of policies. For instance, in the context of gender based violence against migrant and refugee women, their refugee or migrant status (usually treated as a purely legal matter) is a critical issue, since it determines their overall situation vis-à-vis the safeguarding of their human rights, an integral part of which is the protection from gender based violence.
To this end, the national reports, prepared by project partners, present and discuss the legal, political and social framework regarding the response capacity to GBV survivors and in particular in terms of the diverse needs of female migrants/asylum seekers as well as to individuals at a particular risk of GBV (single women, women heads of households, persons with disabilities, LGBTI).
For the purposes of the present report, the legal framework refers to both asylum/international protection and gender-based violence national systems, which are being critically presented with an emphasis on the amendments needed and the enhancement of enforcement and implementation mechanisms.
As for policies, the focus is on major political initiatives to combat GBV in particular with regard to the provision of available support services, addressing new challenges, unattended needs and/or gaps related to services- and resources availability (funding, human resources, knowledge and expertise etc.).
The social framework refers to the inclusion of alternative voices of public policy such as NGOs i.e. not only mainstream formal rhetoric and/or public discourses but also critical minority views. To this purpose, the involvement of different actors and perspectives (volunteers, civil society organisations, activists, migrant women’s organisations, etc.) has been achieved.
Authors: Maria Liapi, Sociologist-Researcher and Angeliki Serafeim, lawyers