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Gynaecological and obstetrical violence: lifting the taboo

“Gynaecological and obstetrical violence are a form of violence that has long been hidden and has remained taboo. It is however a widespread phenomenon and women are victims of it in many countries, » Maryvonne Blondin (France, SOC) underlines in a report that will be discussed by PACE at its Autumn session (Strasbourg, 30 September-4 October).

« It is the result of the continued existence of a patriarchal culture within the medical sector, particularly in the training given to healthcare staff, and of persistent gender stereotypes in society. We must address this issue at European level and call for women to be treated with respect throughout their lives by everybody, and in particular by healthcare staff,” she added.

In a draft resolution unanimously adopted today, the Equality Committee calls on national parliaments to discuss the protection of patients’ rights in the context of care and gynaecological and obstetrical violence in order to contribute to public debate and the lifting of taboos. The text also recommends the adoption of legislation on the informed consent of patients, as well as specific and accessible reporting and complaint mechanisms, backed by sanctions where appropriate. Finally, appropriate funding for healthcare facilities should be guaranteed, in order to ensure decent working conditions for care providers, as well as a respectful and caring approach to patients and access to pain relief.