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Action to combat violence against women must also take account of psychological violence

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12255 | 11 May 2010

Ms Claude GREFF, France, EPP/CD ; Ms Sonja ABLINGER, Austria, SOC ; Mr John AUSTIN, United Kingdom ; Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN, France, SOC ; Lord Tim BOSWELL, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Ms Anna ČURDOVÁ, Czech Republic ; Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE, United Kingdom ; Ms Lydie ERR, Luxembourg, SOC ; Ms Elvira KOVÁCS, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Paul LECOQ, France, UEL ; Ms Christine MARIN, France, EPP/CD ; Mr José MENDES BOTA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Claude MIGNON, France, EPP/CD ; Ms Anna NTALARA, Greece ; Ms Elsa PAPADIMITRIOU, Greece, EPP/CD ; Ms Maria Pilar RIBA FONT, Andorra, SOC ; Mr François ROCHEBLOINE, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Michał STULIGROSZ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Doris STUMP, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Tatiana VOLOZHINSKAYA, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Konstantinos VRETTOS, Greece, SOC ; Mr Vladimir ZHIDKIKH, Russian Federation, EDG

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.