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EU Proposes Directive on Violence Against Women

Violence, especially against marginalised communities such as trans people, is widespread and increased during the pandemic.

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the European Commission launched its proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence.

TGEU welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a directive on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. However, the directive falls short of truly addressing gender-based violence in the EU: if adopted in its current form, the opportunity to enshrine protection for some of the most marginalised people in EU law will be missed.

Violence against trans people in the EU occurs at an alarming rate and reaches their own home. 36% of trans women, 36% of non-binary people, and 33% of trans men reported to the FRA 2019 LGBTI Equality survey that they had experienced physical or sexual violence in the preceding five years. An extraordinary 60% of trans people experienced in-person harassment in the same period.

TGEU’s COVID-19 impact assessment highlighted that, “many women and trans people have been forced to ‘lockdown’ at their residence with their abusers, while services to support survivors have been downsized or made inaccessible.” The 2021 update of the Trans Murder Monitoring project showed that 24% of the reported murders of trans people occurred in the victims’ own homes.

The European Commission must strengthen its commitment and become fully inclusive of trans and gender-diverse people in its work on gender-based violence and domestic violence.

“Those who are most vulnerable to gender-based violence should be in the focus. Trans women experience the highest amount of harassment and violence amongst trans people: 55% reported harassment, and 1 in 4 experience violence. Making intersectionality explicit would go a long way to creating a safer society for everyone.”

Richard Köhler, TGEU Advocacy Director

In consideration of the current directive proposal, TGEU urges the European Parliament and Council to push for a rights-based and feminist approach that includes:

  • Explicit coverage of gender-based violence and violence inflicted due to a person’s gender identity and gender expression, complementing the Victims’ Rights Directive and the EU Gender Equality Strategy;
  • Greater emphasis placed on intersectionality and the unique experience of violence that certain groups experience due to intersecting elements of their identity, reflecting the definition and approach used in the Pay Transparency Directive; and
  • Collection of gender identity-segregated data on gender-based violence and domestic violence to have a complete picture of the true extent of such violence.

TGEU encourages our members and any EU citizens to make a submission to the open call for feedback on this proposal and tell the Commission how the directive can be strengthened to protect the most marginalised trans people. Feedback can be submitted until 18 May 2022.

See TGEU’s more detailed analysis of the directive.


January 2023: TGEU’s proposed amendments to the directive
September 2022: Joint policy recommendations on the directive by TGEU together with ILGA Europe, OII Europe, EL*C and IGLYO