Malta to be fourth EU country to ratify Istanbul Convention

Throughout the EU, 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15

Malta will be the fourth EU country to ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women, civil liberties minister Helena Dalli said.

Dalli was addressing a debate held at the European Council, discussing the results of the Fundamental Human Rights Agency (FRA) survey on violence against women launched Wednesday morning.

Dalli spoke on the need for a mainstreamed and comprehensive strategy at both the EU and national levels focusing  on prevention, education and services.

"This report, the first of its kind, helps give a clear picture at both EU and member state level on the seriousness of the problem of violence against women," Dalli said, who also explained recent initiatives taken by the Maltese government in this area.

The FRA report found that one in 20 women (5%) has been raped since the age of 15. This figure is based on responses to the survey question "Since you were 15 years old until now, how often has someone forced you into sexual intercourse by holding you down or hurting you in some way?"

In a number of EU jurisdictions, the legal definition of rape extends beyond the requirement that the perpetrator uses physical force. In this regard, the extent of rape in the EU could be in excess of 5%.

In the EU-28, 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15, and 5% of women have experienced stalking in the 12 months preceding the survey. This corresponds to about 9 million women in the EU-28 experiencing stalking within a period of 12 months.

To obtain this finding, women were asked in the survey interview whether they had been in a situation where the same person had been repeatedly offensive or threatening towards them with respect to a list of different actions; for example, whether the same person has repeatedly 'Loitered or waited for you outside your home, workplace or school without a legitimate reason?'; or 'Made offensive, threatening or silent phone callsMa  you?'.

On average, every second woman in the EU (50%) has recently seen or heard a campaign. Examining the results by country, the majority of women in Spain (83%), Malta (78%), Portugal, France and Greece (all three 70%) indicate that they have recently seen or heard awareness-raising campaigns. In con­trast, only one in five women in Austria (20%) and Germany (23%), and about one in four women in the Czech Republic and in Denmark (both 26%), have recently seen or heard any campaigns addressing vio­lence against women.

The majority of women in Romania (74%), the Czech Republic (75%), Bulgaria (56%) and Greece (53%) have not heard of any of the institutions or ser­vices asked about in the FRA's questionnaire. In contrast, 79% of women surveyed in Malta, 71% of women in Cyprus and 58% of women in Portugal are aware of all three national support services, and only 2% of women in Denmark, 5% of women in Sweden and 4% of women in the Netherlands are not aware of any of the three organisations or support services referred to in the FRA questionnaire.

According to the survey and women's own perception of their situation, the majority (51.5%) of the respondents are in paid work, almost one fifth (18.0%) are retired or unable to work and 13.1% are home makers or in unpaid or voluntary work.

Overall, 8.6% are unemployed and 7.2% are students. The lowest shares of women in paid work are in Croatia (36.6%), Romania (39.1%) and Spain (39.1%), and the high­est are in Sweden (65.6%), Finland (59.5%) and the Netherlands (58.7%).

Malta has the highest share of home makers (41.2% of women). Croatia has the high­est share of women who self-declare as unemployed (19.5%). Denmark has the most students (18.3%) and Hungary (27.5%) the highest share of retired women or women who say they are unable to work.

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