'Harmful practices' as a form of violence against women and girls

25-11-2016

Violence against women and girls is prevalent across the world and in all societies, but the forms it takes vary and change over time. In recent years, a number of forms of violence, some of which had not previously been documented in Europe, have become an increasing concern. Three specific practices, which have become an issue in some EU countries are 'honour' crimes, early/forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). These manifestations of gender-based violence, which are classified as 'harmful practices' in international human rights instruments, are carried out on women and girls as part of accepted tradition or cultural practice, by families or communities. They have a major impact on victims, causing physical and psychological harm, and limiting their capacity to participate fully in society or develop and reach their full potential. Although there is growing awareness of the problem on the part of the European Union and individual Member States, legislative and policy responses to FGM and other harmful practices are still reported to be lagging behind those for other forms of violence against women. Further policy challenges are raised by the fact that, as a result of crises and conflict, such practices are also reported to be re-emerging or becoming more acute in some areas of the world. Other forms of harm, which affect women and girls in Europe, may also warrant classification as 'harmful practices'. This is an introduction to a series of individual briefings on the issues of 'honour' crimes, forced/early marriage, FGM and emerging forms of harm, looking in detail at action at national and EU levels. An overall analysis of the EU legislative framework and policy initiatives on violence against women is available in the briefing, Violence against Women in the EU: State of Play. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Violence against women and girls is prevalent across the world and in all societies, but the forms it takes vary and change over time. In recent years, a number of forms of violence, some of which had not previously been documented in Europe, have become an increasing concern. Three specific practices, which have become an issue in some EU countries are 'honour' crimes, early/forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). These manifestations of gender-based violence, which are classified as 'harmful practices' in international human rights instruments, are carried out on women and girls as part of accepted tradition or cultural practice, by families or communities. They have a major impact on victims, causing physical and psychological harm, and limiting their capacity to participate fully in society or develop and reach their full potential. Although there is growing awareness of the problem on the part of the European Union and individual Member States, legislative and policy responses to FGM and other harmful practices are still reported to be lagging behind those for other forms of violence against women. Further policy challenges are raised by the fact that, as a result of crises and conflict, such practices are also reported to be re-emerging or becoming more acute in some areas of the world. Other forms of harm, which affect women and girls in Europe, may also warrant classification as 'harmful practices'. This is an introduction to a series of individual briefings on the issues of 'honour' crimes, forced/early marriage, FGM and emerging forms of harm, looking in detail at action at national and EU levels. An overall analysis of the EU legislative framework and policy initiatives on violence against women is available in the briefing, Violence against Women in the EU: State of Play. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format