As a mode of abuse of power or control of one person by another, psychological violence is expressed in words or attitudes (hurtful words, insults, threats, mockery, indifference, etc) which traumatise the victim.
Feelings of fear and insecurity can drive people to take refuge in silence. It is therefore important for the victims to speak out in order to prevent the psychological violence from intensifying and worsening.
Psychological violence suffered by women, particularly in the domestic sphere, must be punished. This form of violence, which is often repetitive, is internalised by the female victims. Psychological violence not only accompanies but also precedes other forms of violence.
And yet, as the current discussions in the Council of Europe’s Ad hoc Committee responsible for preparing the future Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CAHVIO) have shown, the definition of psychological and psychic violence has not yet been agreed upon. This concept, furthermore, seems to raise problems in several member states, which hesitate to define it as an offence on the grounds that such violence is difficult to prove.
The Parliamentary Assembly considers that psychological and psychic violence suffered by women must be recognised as a form of violence against women. It proposes including action against psychological violence in the future Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.