Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the European Commission and High Representative/Vice President, Josep Borrell issued the following statement:

“Violence against women happens in every country. The facts are shocking – in the EU and across the world, one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence. One in five girls today are victims of child sexual abuse. Online violence is on the rise, with one in two young women experiencing gender-based cyber violence.

The EU condemns all forms of violence against women and girls. It is unacceptable in the 21st century that women and girls continue to be abused, harassed, raped, mutilated or forced into marriage.

In March this year, the European Commission proposed new EU rules to combat violence against women, including online. Today, the Commission is also announcing the establishment of a common EU helpline number for victims of violence against women – 116 016.

This year, we pay particular attention to violence against women in conflict areas. In Ukraine, Russian armed forces are committing acts of sexual violence, and the millions of women and children fleeing the Russian aggression into the EU and neighbouring countries require proper support and protection.

In Iran, women are abused, exploited, oppressed, harassed, jailed, fined and flogged for demanding freedom and equality. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have dismantled all protection mechanisms established over the past 20 years to protect women and girls from abuse, violence and forced marriages. Women face violence also in humanitarian crises from Myanmar to northern Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We remain steadfast in our ambition to end violence against women inside and outside the EU. The EU stands in solidarity with the women and girls, victims and survivors of violence. We will continue to support civil society, women’s rights organisations and human rights defenders demanding accountability.”

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