GREVIO Publishes Annual Report on Violence Against Women
Sofía Medina Sánchez
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
On the 21st of September, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) published its annual report, emphasising its main accomplishments this past year. These include the publication of the highest number ever of reports per year (nine baseline evaluation reports) and the highest number of ratifications per year of the Istanbul Convention since 2018 (with 3 new state parties).
Moreover, GREVIO adopted a new evaluation questionnaire named “Building trust by delivering support, protection and justice”. This questionnaire delineates the parameters for the inaugural thematic monitoring round initiated in 2023. Additionally, the productive collaboration between GREVIO and the Committee of the Parties has resulted in the endorsement of the Dublin Declaration on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. This declaration, supported by 38 Ministers, is directly influenced by the prevention aspect of the convention.
This 4th General Report on GREVIO’s activities contains a “Focus section” which deals with sexual violence and rape, which constitutes one of the least reported forms of violence against women. This form of violence is marked by a significant drop-off in cases during investigation and prosecution, resulting in few convictions and fostering a sense of impunity. The Focus section outlines the progression of legislation, policies, and support services in this domain among state parties. It also illustrates how the convention and GREVIO's monitoring efforts contribute to fostering these constructive developments.
From GREVIO’s observations in the report, it is evident that the “only yes is yes” approach is the one most consistent with the Istanbul Convention. Legal frameworks that necessitate evidence of non-consent in sexual acts tend to overly focus on the victim’s conduct and whether she explicitly or otherwise expressed her objection. Consequently, such approaches may not encompass situations where the victim remains passive, among other scenarios.
This report, although showcasing progress in the fight against violence against women, highlights the importance of increasing the mechanisms and strengthening our legal frameworks in order to protect women throughout the globe.
Sources and further reading:
Council of Europe, Newsroom, Violence against women: GREVIO publishes annual report, 21 September 2023 : https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/violence-against-women-grevio-publishes-annual-report
Council of Europe, Newsroom, 4th General Report on GREVIO’s activities, 21 September 2023: https://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/-/4th-general-report-on-grevio-s-activities
Council of Europe, 4th General Report on GREVIO’s activities: covering the period from
January to December 2022, September 2023: https://rm.coe.int/4th-general-report-on-grevio-s-activities/1680aca199