Artikelen bij COM(2022)105 - Bestrijding van geweld tegen vrouwen en huiselijk geweld

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dossier COM(2022)105 - Bestrijding van geweld tegen vrouwen en huiselijk geweld.
document COM(2022)105 EN
datum 8 maart 2022


Inhoudsopgave

CHAPTER - 1

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1 -   Subject matter

This Directive lays down rules to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. It establishes minimum rules concerning:

(a)the definition of criminal offences and penalties in the areas of sexual exploitation of women and children and computer crime;

(b)the rights of victims of all forms of violence against women or domestic violence before, during or after criminal proceedings;

(c)victims’ protection and victims’ support.

Article 2 - Victims at an increased risk of violence and specific risks

1.When implementing the measures under this Directive, Member States shall take into consideration the increased risk of violence faced by victims experiencing discrimination based on a combination of sex and other grounds so as to cater to their enhanced protection and support needs, as set out in Article 18(4), Article 27(5) and Article 37(7).

2.Member States shall ensure that, in the application of this Directive, particular attention is paid to the risk of intimidation, retaliation, secondary and repeat victimisation and to the need to protect the dignity and physical integrity of victims.

Article 3 - Scope

This Directive shall apply to the following criminal offences:

(a)criminal offences referred to in Chapter 2; 

(b)acts of violence against women or domestic violence as criminalised under other instruments of Union law;

(c)any other acts of violence against women or domestic violence as criminalised under national law.

Article 4 - Definitions

For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

(a)“violence against women” means gender-based violence, that is directed against a woman or a girl because she is a woman or a girl or that affects women or girls disproportionately, including all acts of such violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life;

(b)“domestic violence” means all acts of violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, that occur within the family or domestic unit, irrespective of biological or legal family ties, or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the offender shares or has shared a residence with the victim;

(c)“victim” means any person, regardless of sex or gender, unless specified otherwise, who has suffered harm, which was directly caused by acts of violence covered under this Directive, including child witnesses of such violence;

(d)“cyber violence” means any act of violence covered by this Directive that is committed, assisted or aggravated in part or fully by the use of information and communication technologies;

(e)“information and communication technologies” means all technological tools and resources used to digitally store, create, share or exchange information, including smart phones, computers, social networking and other media applications and services;

(f)“providers of intermediary services” means providers of the services as defined in Article 2 point (f) of Regulation (EU) YYYY/XXX of the European Parliament and of the Council 51  [Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services];

(g)“sexual harassment at work” means any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, where it occurs in the course of, linked with, or arising in matters of employment, occupation and self-employment, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the victim, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; 

(h)“child” means any person below the age of 18 years;

(i)“age of sexual consent” means the age below which, in accordance with national law, it is prohibited to engage in sexual activities with a child; 

(j)“dependant” means a child of the victim or any person, other than the offender or suspect, living in the same household as the victim, for whom the victim is providing care and support.

CHAPTER 2 - OFFENCES CONCERNING SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND COMPUTER CRIME

Article 5 - Rape

1.Member States shall ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable as a criminal offence:

(a)engaging with a woman in any non-consensual act of vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature, with any bodily part or object;

(b)causing a woman to engage with another person in any non-consensual act of vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature, with any bodily part or object.

2.Member States shall ensure that a non-consensual act is understood as an act which is performed without the woman’s consent given voluntarily or where the woman is unable to form a free will due to her physical or mental condition, thereby exploiting her incapacity to form a free will, such as in a state of unconsciousness, intoxication, sleep, illness, bodily injury or disability.

3.Consent can be withdrawn at any moment during the act. The absence of consent cannot be refuted exclusively by the woman’s silence, verbal or physical non-resistance or past sexual conduct.

Article 6 - Female genital mutilation

Member States shall ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable as a criminal offence:

(a)excising, infibulating or performing any other mutilation to the whole or any part of the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris;

(b)coercing or procuring a woman or a girl to undergo any of the acts referred to in point (a).

Article 7 - Non-consensual sharing of intimate or manipulated material

Member States shall ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable as a criminal offence:

(a)making intimate images, or videos or other material depicting sexual activities, of another person without that person’s consent accessible to a multitude of end-users by means of information and communication technologies;

(b)producing or manipulating and subsequently making accessible to a multitude of end-users, by means of information and communication technologies, images, videos or other material, making it appear as though another person is engaged in sexual activities,  without that person’s consent;  

(c)threatening to engage in the conduct referred to in points (a) and (b) in order to coerce another person to do, acquiesce or refrain from a certain act.

Article 8 - Cyber stalking

Member States shall ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable as a criminal offence:

(a)persistently engaging in threatening or intimidating conduct directed at another person, by means of information and communication technologies, which causes that the person fears for own safety or that the person fears for safety of dependants;

(b)placing another person under continuous surveillance, without that person’s consent or legal authorisation to do so, by means of information and communication technologies, to track or monitor that person’s movements and activities;

(c)making material containing the personal data of another person, without that person’s consent, accessible to a multitude of end-users, by means of information and communication technologies, for the purpose of inciting those end-users to cause physical or significant psychological harm to the person.

Article 9 - Cyber harassment

Member States shall ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable as a criminal offence:

(a)initiating an attack with third parties directed at another person, by making threatening or insulting material accessible to a multitude of end-users, by means of information and communication technologies, with the effect of causing significant psychological harm to the attacked person;

(b)participating with third parties in attacks referred to in point (a).

Article 10 - Cyber incitement to violence or hatred

Member States shall ensure that the intentional conduct of inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to sex or gender, by disseminating to the public material containing such incitement by means of information and communication technologies is punishable as a criminal offence.

Article 11 - Incitement, aiding and abetting, and attempt

1.Member States shall ensure that inciting and aiding and abetting the commission of any of the criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 to 9 are punishable as criminal offences.

2.Member States shall ensure that an attempt to commit any of the criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 and 6 is punishable as a criminal offence.

Article 12 - Penalties

1.Member States shall ensure that the criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 to 11 are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties.

2.Member States shall ensure that the criminal offence referred to in Article 5 is punishable by a maximum penalty of at least 8 years of imprisonment and at least 10 years of imprisonment if the offence was committed under aggravating circumstances referred to in Article 13.

3.Member States shall ensure that an offender of the criminal offence referred to in Article 5, who has previously been convicted of offences of the same nature, mandatorily participates in an intervention programme referred to in Article 38.

4.Member States shall ensure that the criminal offence referred to in Article 6 is punishable by a maximum penalty of at least 5 years of imprisonment and at least 7 years of imprisonment if the offence was committed under aggravating circumstances referred to in Article 13.

5.Member States shall ensure that the criminal offences referred to in Articles 8 and 10 are punishable by a maximum penalty of at least 2 years of imprisonment.

6.Member States shall ensure that the criminal offences referred to in Articles 7 and 9 are punishable by a maximum penalty of at least 1 year of imprisonment.

Article 13 - Aggravating circumstances

In so far as the following circumstances do not already form part of the constituent elements of the criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 to 10, Member States shall ensure that they may be regarded as aggravating circumstances in relation to those offences:

(a)the offence, or another criminal offence of violence against women or domestic violence, was committed repeatedly;

(b)the offence was committed against a person made vulnerable by particular circumstances, such as a situation of dependence or a state of physical, mental, intellectual or sensory disability, or living in institutions;

(c)the offence was committed against a child;

(d)the offence was committed in the presence of a child;

(e)the offence was committed by two or more persons acting together;

(f)the offence was preceded or accompanied by extreme levels of violence;

(g)the offence was committed with the use or threat of using a weapon;

(h)the offence was committed with the use of force or threats to use force, or coercion;

(i)the offence resulted in the death or suicide of the victim or severe physical or psychological harm for the victim;

(j)the offender has previously been convicted of offences of the same nature;

(k)the offence was committed against a former or current spouse or partner;

(l)the offence was committed by a member of the family or person cohabiting with the victim;

(m)the offence was committed by abusing a recognised position of trust, authority or influence;

(n)the offence was filmed, photographed or recorded in another form and made accessible by the offender;

(o)the offence was committed by causing the victim to take, use or be affected by drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

Article 14 - Jurisdiction

1.Member States shall take the necessary measures to establish their jurisdiction over the criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 to 11 where:

(a)the offence is committed in whole or in part within their territory;

(b)the offence is committed by one of their nationals.

2.A Member State shall inform the Commission where it decides to extend its jurisdiction to criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 to 11 which have been committed outside its territory in any of the following situations:

(a)the offence is committed against one of its nationals or habitual residents in its territory;

(b)the offender is a habitual resident in its territory.

3.Member States shall ensure that their jurisdiction established over the criminal offences referred to in Articles 7 to 10 includes situations where the offence is committed by means of information and communication technology accessed from their territory, whether or not the provider of intermediary services is based on their territory.

4.In cases referred to in paragraph 1, point (b), each Member State shall ensure that its jurisdiction is not subject to the condition that the acts are punishable as criminal offences in the country where they were performed.

5.In cases referred to in paragraph 1, point (b), Member States shall ensure that the exercise of their jurisdiction is not subject to the condition that a prosecution can be initiated only following a report made by the victim in the place where the criminal offence was committed, or a denunciation from the State of the place where the criminal offence was committed.

Article 15 - Limitation periods

1.Member States shall take the necessary measures to provide for a limitation period that enables the investigation, prosecution, trial and judicial decision concerning criminal offences referred to in Articles 5 to 11 for a sufficient period of time after the commission of those criminal offences.

2.Member States shall take the necessary measures to provide for a limitation period for criminal offences referred to in Article 5 of at least 20 years from the time when the offence was committed.

3.Member States shall take the necessary measures to provide for a limitation period for criminal offences referred to in Article 6 of at least 10 years from the time when the offence was committed.

4.Member States shall take the necessary measures to provide for a limitation period for criminal offences referred to in Articles 7 and 9 of at least 5 years after the criminal offence has ceased or the victim has become aware of it.

5.Member States shall take the necessary measures to provide for a limitation period for the criminal offences referred to in Articles 8 and 10, of at least 7 years after the criminal offence has ceased or the victim has become aware of it.

6.If the victim is a child, the limitation period shall commence at the earliest once the victim has reached 18 years of age.

CHAPTER 3 - PROTECTION OF VICTIMS AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE

Article 16 - Reporting of violence against women or domestic violence

1.In addition to the rights of victims when making a complaint under Article 5 of Directive 2012/29/EU, Member States shall ensure that victims can report criminal offences of violence against women or domestic violence to the competent authorities in an easy and accessible manner. This shall include the possibility of reporting criminal offences online or through other information and communication technologies, including the possibility to submit evidence, in particular concerning reporting of criminal offences of cyber violence.   

2.Member States shall take the necessary measures to encourage any person who knows about or suspects, in good faith, that offences of violence against women or domestic violence have occurred, or that further acts of violence are to be expected, to report this to the competent authorities.  

3.Member States shall ensure that the confidentiality rules imposed by national law on relevant professionals, such as healthcare professionals, do not constitute an obstacle to their reporting to the competent authorities if they have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an imminent risk that serious physical harm will be inflicted on a person due to their being subject to any of the offences covered under this Directive. If the victim is a child, the relevant professionals shall be able to report to the competent authorities if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a serious act of violence covered under this Directive has been committed or further serious acts of violence are to be expected. 

4.Where children report criminal offences of violence against women or domestic violence, Member States shall ensure that the reporting procedures are safe, confidential, designed and accessible in a child-friendly manner and language, in accordance with their age and maturity. If the offence involves the holder of parental responsibility, Member States should ensure reporting is not conditional upon this person’s consent.

5.Member States shall ensure that the competent authorities coming in contact with a victim reporting offences of violence against women or domestic violence are prohibited from transferring personal data pertaining to the residence status of the victim to competent migration authorities, at least until completion of the first individual assessment referred to in Article 18.

Article 17 - Investigation and prosecution

1.Member States shall ensure that persons, units or services investigating and prosecuting violence against women or domestic violence have sufficient expertise and effective investigative tools to effectively investigate and prosecute such crimes, especially to gather, analyse and secure electronic evidence in cases of cyber violence. 

2.Member States shall ensure that reported offences of violence against women or domestic violence are processed and transferred without delay to the competent authorities for prosecution and investigation.

3.The competent authorities shall promptly and effectively record and investigate allegations of violence against women or domestic violence and ensure that an official complaint is filed in all cases.

4.The competent authorities shall promptly refer victims to relevant health care professionals or support services referred to in Articles 27, 28 and 29 to assist in securing evidence, in particular in cases of sexual violence, where the victim wishes to bring charges and make use of such services.

5.Investigations into or prosecution of offences referred to in Article 5 shall not be dependent on reporting or accusation by a victim or by their representative, and criminal proceedings shall continue even if the report or accusation has been withdrawn.

Article 18 - Individual assessment to identify victims’ protection needs

1.In the framework of the individual assessment which is to be carried out under Article 22 of Directive 2012/29/EU, Member States shall ensure that, as regards victims covered by this Directive, the additional elements as set out in paragraphs 2 to 7 of this Article are assessed.

2.This individual assessment shall be initiated upon the first contact of the victim with the competent authorities. The competent judicial authorities shall verify at the latest at the initiation of criminal proceedings whether an assessment has been conducted. If this has not been the case, they shall remedy the situation by undertaking an assessment as soon as possible.

3.The individual assessment shall focus on the risk emanating from the offender or suspect, including the risk of repeated violence, the risk of bodily harm, the use of weapons, the offender or suspect living with the victim, an offender or suspect’s drug or alcohol misuse, child abuse, mental health issues or behaviour of stalking.

4.The assessment shall take into account the victim’s individual circumstances, including whether they experience discrimination based on a combination of sex and other grounds and therefore face a heightened risk of violence, as well as the victim’s own account and assessment of the situation. It shall be conducted in the best interest of the victim, paying special attention to the need to avoid secondary or repeated victimisation.

5.Member States shall ensure that adequate protection measures are taken on the basis of the individual assessment, such as:

(a)measures referred to in Articles 23 and 24 of Directive 2012/29/EU;

(b)the granting of emergency barring and restraining or protection orders pursuant to Article 21 of this Directive;

(c)further measures to manage the offender or suspect’s behaviour, in particular under Article 38 of this Directive.

6.The individual assessment shall be undertaken in collaboration with all relevant competent authorities depending on the stage of the proceedings, and relevant support services, such as victim protection centres and women’s shelters, social services and healthcare professionals.

7.Competent authorities shall update the individual assessment at regular intervals to ensure the protection measures relate to the victim’s current situation. This shall include an assessment of whether protection measures, in particular under Article 21, need to be adapted or taken.

8.Victims’ dependants shall be presumed to have specific protection needs without undergoing the assessment referred to in paragraphs 1 to 6.

Article 19 - Individual assessment of victims’ support needs

1.Member States shall ensure that, taking into account the individual assessment referred to in Article 18, the competent authorities assess the victim’s and their dependant’s individual needs for support as provided for under Chapter 4.

2.Article 18(4) and (7) shall apply to the individual assessment of support needs under paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 20 - Referral to support services

1.If the assessments referred to in Articles 18 and 19 have identified specific support or protection needs or if the victim requests support, Member States shall ensure that support services contact victims to offer support.

2.The competent authorities shall respond to requests for protection and support in a timely and coordinated manner.

3.Where needed, they shall be able to refer child victims, including witnesses, to support services without the prior consent of the holder of parental responsibility.

4.Member States shall ensure the transmission of relevant personal data concerning the victim and their situation to the relevant support services, where this is necessary to ensure that the victim receives appropriate support and protection. Such transmission shall be confidential.

5.Support services shall store personal data for as long as necessary for the provision of support services, and in any event for no longer than 12 months after the last contact between the support service and the victim.

Article 21 - Emergency barring, restraining and protection orders

1.Member States shall ensure that, in situations of immediate danger for the victim’s or their dependant’s health or safety, the competent authorities issue orders addressed at an offender or suspect of violence covered by this Directive to vacate the residence of the victim or their dependants for a sufficient period of time and to prohibit the offender or suspect from entering the residence or to enter the victim’s workplace or contacting the victim or their dependants in any way. Such orders shall have immediate effect and not be dependent on a victim reporting the criminal offence.

2.Member States shall ensure that the competent authorities can issue restraining or protection orders to provide long-term protection for victims or their dependants against any acts of violence covered by this Directive, including by prohibiting or restraining certain dangerous behaviour of the offender or suspect.

3.Member States shall ensure that the competent authorities inform victims of the possibility to apply for emergency barring and restraining or protection orders, as well as the possibility to seek cross-border recognition of protection orders pursuant to Directive 2011/99/EU or Regulation (EU) No 606/2013.

4.Any breaches of emergency barring or restraining and protection orders shall be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal or other legal penalties.

5.This Article does not oblige the Member States to modify their national systems as regards the qualification of emergency barring orders and protection orders as falling under criminal, civil or administrative law.

Article 22 - Protection of victim’s private life

Without prejudice to the rights of defence, Member States shall ensure that, in criminal investigations and court proceedings, questions, enquiries and evidence concerning past sexual conduct of the victim or other aspects of the victim’s private life related thereto are not permitted.

Article 23 - Guidelines for law enforcement and judicial authorities

Member States shall issue guidelines for the competent authorities acting in criminal proceedings, including prosecutorial and judicial guidelines, concerning cases of violence against women or domestic violence. Those guidelines shall include guidance on:

(a)how to ensure the proper identification of all forms of such violence;

(b)how to conduct the individual assessment under Articles 18 and 19;

(c)how to treat victims in a trauma-, gender- and child-sensitive manner;

(d)how to ensure the proceedings are conducted in a manner as to prevent secondary or repeat victimisation;

(e)how to cater to the enhanced protection and support needs of victims experiencing discrimination based on a combination of sex and other grounds;

(f)how to avoid gender stereotypes;

(g)how to refer victims to support services, to ensure the appropriate treatment of victims and handling of cases of violence against women or domestic violence.

Article 24 - Role of national bodies and equality bodies

1.Member States shall designate and make the necessary arrangement for a body or bodies to carry out the following tasks:

(a)provide independent assistance and advice to victims of violence against women and domestic violence;

(b)publish independent reports and make recommendations on any issue relating to such forms of violence;

(c)exchange available information with corresponding European bodies such as the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Those bodies may form part of equality bodies set up pursuant to Directives 2004/113/EC, 2006/54/EC and 2010/41/EU.

2.Member States shall ensure that the bodies referred to in paragraph 1 can act on behalf or in support of one or several victims of violence against women or domestic violence in judicial proceedings, including for the application for compensation referred to in Article 26 and removal of online content referred to in Article 25, with the victims’ approval.

Article 25 - Measures to remove certain online material

1.Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure the prompt removal of material referred to in Article 7, points (a) and (b), Article 8, point (c), and Articles 9 and 10. Those measures shall include the possibility for their competent judicial authorities to issue, upon application by the victim, binding legal orders to remove or disable access to such material addressed to relevant providers of intermediary services.

2.Member States shall ensure that orders referred to in paragraph 1 can be issued in interim proceedings, even prior to the termination of any criminal proceedings regarding the offences referred to in Article 7, points (a) and (b), Article 8, point (c), Article 9 or Article 10 where the judicial authority seized considers that:

(a)it has been presented with sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that the conduct referred to in Article 7, points (a) and (b), Article 8, point (c), Article 9 or Article 10 likely took place in respect of the applicant and that the material that is the object of the application constitutes material as referred to in those articles;

(b)the removal of that material is necessary to prevent or limit significant harm to the victim;

(c)the rights and interests of other parties involved associated with the potential removal are not such as to outweigh those of the victim associated with removal.

3.Member States shall ensure that orders referred to in paragraph 1 and 2 are valid for an appropriate time period not exceeding one year, subject to renewal for an additional appropriate time period, upon application by the victim, where the judicial authority seized considers that the conditions of paragraph 2 continue to be met. However, Member States shall ensure that, where criminal proceedings regarding the offences referred to in Article 7, point (a) and (b), Article 8, point (c), Article 9 or Article 10 are terminated without leading to the finding of such an offence having been committed, the orders are invalidated and the provider of intermediary services concerned is informed thereof.

4.Member States shall ensure that the orders and other measures referred to in paragraphs 1  and 2 are taken following transparent procedures and are subject to adequate safeguards, in particular to ensure that those orders and other measures are limited to what is necessary and proportionate and that due account is taken of the rights and interests of all parties involved.

5.Member States shall ensure that the end-users of the relevant services are informed, where appropriate by the intermediary service providers concerned, of the reasons for the removal of or disabling access to the material pursuant to the orders or other measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 and that those end-users have access to judicial redress.

6.Member States shall ensure that the removal of or disabling access to the material pursuant to the orders or other measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 does not prevent the competent authorities from obtaining or securing the evidence necessary for the investigation and prosecution of the offences referred to in Article7, points (a) and (b), Article 8, point (c),  Article 9 or Article 10.

Article 26 - Compensation from offenders

1.Member States shall ensure that victims have the right to claim full compensation from offenders for damages resulting from all forms of violence against women or domestic violence.

2.Member States shall ensure that victims are able to obtain a decision on compensation in the course of criminal proceedings.

3.The compensation shall place victims in the position they would have been in had the offence not taken place, taking into account the seriousness of the consequences for the victim. Compensation shall not be restricted by the fixing of an upper limit.

4.The damage shall include costs for healthcare services, support services, rehabilitation, loss of income and other reasonable costs that have arisen as a result of the offence or to manage its consequences. The amount of the damages awarded shall also compensate for physical and psychological harm and moral prejudice.

5.The limitation period for bringing a claim for compensation shall be no less than 5 years from the time the offence has taken place.

In cases of sexual violence, the limitation period shall be no less than 10 years.

The limitation period for bringing a claim for compensation of criminal offences referred to in Article 7 shall commence with the victim’s knowledge of the offence.

The limitation period shall not commence as long as the offender and the victim share the same domestic unit. In addition, if the victim is a child, the limitation period shall not commence before the victim has reached 18 years of age.

The limitation period shall be interrupted or suspended for the duration of pending legal proceedings concerning the offence.

CHAPTER 4 - VICTIM SUPPORT

Article 27 - Specialist support to victims

1.Member States shall ensure that specialist support services referred to in Article 9(3) of Directive 2012/29/EU are available for victims of acts of violence covered by this Directive. The specialist support services shall provide:

(a)advice and information on any relevant legal or practical matters arising as a result of the crime, including on access to housing, education, training and assistance to remain in or find employment;

(b)referrals to medical forensic examinations;

(c)support to victims of cyber violence, including advice on judicial remedies and remedies to remove online content related to the crime.

2.Specialist support referred to in paragraph 1 shall be offered in-person and shall be easily accessible, including online or through other adequate means, such as information and communication technologies, tailored to the needs of victims of violence against women and domestic violence.

3.Member States shall ensure sufficient human and financial resources to provide the services referred to in paragraph 1, especially those referred to in point (c) of that paragraph, including where such services are provided by non-governmental organisations. 

4.Member States shall provide the protection and specialist support services necessary to comprehensively address the multiple needs of victims at the same premises, or have such services coordinated through a central contact point, or through one-stop online access to such services. Such combined offering of services shall include at least first hand medical care and social services, psychosocial support, legal, and police services.

5.Member States shall issue guidelines and protocols for healthcare and social service professionals on identifying and providing appropriate support to victims of all forms of violence against women and domestic violence, including on referring victims to the relevant support services. Such guidelines and protocols shall also indicate how to address the specific needs of victims who are at an increased risk of such violence as a result of their experiencing discrimination based on a combination of sex and other grounds of discrimination.

6.Member States shall ensure that specialist support services remain fully operational for victims of violence against women and domestic violence in times of crisis, such as health crises or other states of emergency.

7.Member States shall ensure that specialist support services are available to victims before, during and for an appropriate time after criminal proceedings.

Article 28 - Specialist support for victims of sexual violence

1.Member States shall provide for appropriately equipped, easily accessible rape crisis or sexual violence referral centres to ensure effective support to victims of sexual violence, including assisting in the preservation and documentation of evidence. These centres shall provide for medical and forensic examinations, trauma support and psychological counselling, after the offence has been perpetrated and for as long as necessary thereafter. Where the victim is a child, such services shall be provided in a child-friendly manner.

2.The services referred to in paragraph 1 shall be available free of charge and accessible every day of the week. They may be part of the services referred to in Article 27.

3.Member States shall ensure a sufficient geographical distribution and capacity of these services across the Member State.

4.Article 27(3) and (6) shall apply to the provision of support for victims of sexual violence.

Article 29 - Specialist support for victims of female genital mutilation

1.Member States shall ensure effective, age-appropriate support to victims of female genital mutilation, including by providing, gynaecological, sexological, psychological and trauma care and counselling tailored to the specific needs of such victims, after the offence has been perpetrated and for as long as necessary thereafter. This shall also include the provision of information on units in public hospitals that perform clitoral reconstructive surgery. Such support may be provided by the referral centres referred to in Article 28 or any dedicated health centre.

2.Article 27(3) and (6) and Article 28(2) shall be applicable to the provision of support for victims of female genital mutilation.

Article 30 - Specialist support for victims of sexual harassment at work

Member States shall ensure external counselling services are available for victims and employers in cases of sexual harassment at work. These services shall include advice on adequately addressing such instances at the workplace, on legal remedies available to the employer to remove the offender from the workplace and providing the possibility of early conciliation, if the victim so wishes.

Article 31 - Helplines for victims

1.Member States shall set up state-wide round-the-clock (24/7) telephone helplines, free of charge, to provide advice for victims of violence against women and domestic violence. Advice shall be provided confidentially or with due regard for their anonymity. Member States shall ensure the provision of such service also through other information and communication technologies, including online applications.

2.Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure the accessibility of services referred to in paragraph 1 for end-users with disabilities, including providing support in easy to understand language. Those services shall be accessible in line with the accessibility requirements for electronic communications services set in Annex I to Directive 2019/882/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council 52 .

3.Article 27(3) and (6) shall apply to the provision of helplines and support through information and communication technologies under this Article.

4.[Member States shall ensure that the service under paragraph 1 for victims of violence against women is operated under the harmonised number at EU level “116 016” and that the end-users are adequately informed of the existence and use of such number.]

Article 32 - Shelters and other interim accommodations

1.The shelters and other appropriate interim accommodations as provided for in Article 9(3), point (a), of Directive 2012/29/EU shall address the specific needs of women victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. They shall assist them in their recovery, providing adequate and appropriate living conditions with a view on a return to independent living.

2.The shelters and other appropriate interim accommodations shall be equipped to accommodate the specific needs of children, including child victims.

3.The shelters and other appropriate interim accommodations shall be available to victims regardless of their nationality, citizenship, place of residence or residence status.

4.Article 27(3) and (6) shall apply to shelters and other appropriate interim accommodations.

Article 33 - Support for child victims 

1.Member States shall ensure that children are provided specific adequate support as soon as the competent authorities have reasonable grounds to believe that the children might have been subject to, including having witnessed, violence against women or domestic violence. Support to children shall be specialised and age-appropriate, respecting the best interests of the child.

2.Child victims shall be provided with age-appropriate medical care, emotional, psychosocial, psychological and educational support, as well as any other appropriate support tailored in particular to situations of domestic violence.

3.Where it is necessary to provide for interim accommodation, children shall as a priority be placed together with other family members, in particular with a non-violent parent in permanent or temporary housing, equipped with support services. Placement in shelters shall be a last resort.

Article 34 - Safety of children

Member States shall establish and maintain safe places which allow a safe contact between a child and a holder of parental responsibilities who is an offender or suspect of violence against women or domestic violence, to the extent that the latter has rights of access. Member States shall ensure supervision by trained professionals, as appropriate, and in the best interests of the child.

Article 35 - Targeted support for victims with specific needs and groups at risk

1.Member States shall ensure the provision of specific support to victims at an increased risk of violence against women or domestic violence, such as women with disabilities, women living in rural areas, women with dependant residence status or permit, undocumented migrant women, women applying for international protection, women fleeing from armed conflict, women affected by homelessness, women with a minority racial or ethnic background, women sex workers, women detainees, or older women.

2.The support services under Articles 27 to 32 shall have sufficient capacities to accommodate victims with disabilities, taking into consideration their specific needs, including personal assistance.

3.The support services shall be available for third-country nationals who are victims of violence against women and domestic violence, including for applicants for international protection, for undocumented persons and for persons subject of return procedures in detention. Member States shall ensure that victims who request so may be kept separately from persons of the other sex in detention facilities for third-country nationals subject of return procedures, or accommodated separately in reception centres for applicants for international protection.

4.Member States shall ensure that persons can report occurrences of violence against women or domestic violence in reception and detention centres to the relevant staff and that protocols are in place to adequately and swiftly address such reports in accordance with the requirements in Article 18, 19 and 20.

CHAPTER 5 - PREVENTION

Article 36 - Preventive measures

1.Member States shall take appropriate actions to prevent violence against women and domestic violence.

2.Preventive measures shall include awareness-raising campaigns, research and education programmes, where appropriate developed in cooperation with relevant civil society organisations, social partners, impacted communities and other stakeholders.

3.Member States shall make information on preventive measures, the rights of victims, access to justice and to a lawyer, and the available protection and support measures available to the general public.

4.Targeted action shall be addressed to groups at risk, including children, according to their age and maturity, and persons with disabilities, taking into consideration language barriers and different levels of literacy and abilities. Information for children shall be formulated in a child-friendly way.

5.Preventive measures shall in particular aim at challenging harmful gender stereotypes, promoting equality between women and men, encouraging all, including men and boys, to act as positive role models to support corresponding behaviour changes across society as a whole in line with the objectives of this directive.

6.Preventive measures shall develop and/or increase sensitivity about the harmful practice of female genital mutilation. 

7.Preventive measures shall also specifically address cyber violence. In particular, Member States shall ensure that education measures include the development of digital literacy skills, including critical engagement with the digital world, to enable users to identify and address cases of cyber violence, seek support and prevent its perpetration. Member States shall foster multidisciplinary and stakeholder cooperation, including intermediary services and competent authorities to develop and implement measures to tackle cyber violence.

8.Member States shall ensure that sexual harassment at work is addressed in relevant national policies. Those national policies shall identify and establish targeted actions referred to in paragraph 2 for sectors where workers are most exposed. 

Article 37 - Training and information for professionals

1.Member States shall ensure that professionals likely to come into contact with victims, including law enforcement authorities, court staff, judges and prosecutors, lawyers, providers of victim support and restorative justice services, healthcare professionals, social services, educational and other relevant staff, receive both general and specialist training and targeted information to a level appropriate to their contacts with victims, to enable them to identify, prevent and address instances of violence against women or domestic violence and to treat victims in a trauma-, gender- and child-sensitive manner.

2.Relevant health professionals, including paediatricians and midwives, shall receive targeted training to identify and address, in a cultural-sensitive manner, the physical, psychological and sexual consequences of female genital mutilation. 

3.Persons with supervisory functions in the workplace, in both the public and private sectors, shall receive training on how to recognise, prevent and address sexual harassment at work, including on risk assessments concerning occupational safety and health risks, to provide support to victims affected thereby and respond in an adequate manner. Those persons and employers shall receive information about the effects of violence against women and domestic violence on work and the risk of third party violence.

4.The training activities referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall include training on co-ordinated multi-agency co-operation to allow for a comprehensive and appropriate handling of referrals in cases of violence against women or domestic violence.

5.Without affecting media freedom and pluralism, Member States shall encourage and support the setting up of media training activities by media professionals’ organisations, media self-regulatory bodies and industry representatives or other relevant independent organisations, to combat stereotypical portrayals of women and men, sexist images of women, and victim-blaming in the media, aimed at reducing the risk of violence against women or domestic violence.

6.Member States shall ensure that the authorities competent for receiving reports of offences from victims are appropriately trained to facilitate and assist in the reporting of such crimes.

7.Training activities referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be regular and mandatory, including on cyber violence, and built on the specificities of violence against women and domestic violence. Such training activities shall include training on how to identify and address the specific protection and support needs of victims who face a heightened risk of violence due to their experiencing discrimination based on a combination of sex and other grounds.

8.The measures under paragraphs 1 to 6 shall be implemented without affecting judicial independence, the self-organisation of regulated professions and differences in the organisation of the judiciary across the Union.

Article 38 - Intervention programmes 

1.Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that targeted and effective intervention programmes are established to prevent and minimise the risk of committing offences of violence against women or domestic violence, or reoffending.

2.The intervention programmes shall be made available for participation including to persons who fear they might commit any offence of violence against women or domestic violence.

CHAPTER 6 - COORDINATION AND COOPERATION

Article 39 - Coordinated policies and coordinating body  

1.Member States shall adopt and implement state-wide effective, comprehensive and co-ordinated policies encompassing all relevant measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence against women and domestic violence.

2.Member States shall designate or establish an official body responsible for coordinating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies and measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered under this Directive.

3.That body shall coordinate the collection of data referred to in Article 44, and analyse and disseminate its results.

4.It shall be responsible for coordinating policies at the central, regional and local levels.

Article 40 - Multi-agency coordination and cooperation

1.Member States shall put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure effective coordination and cooperation, at the national level, of relevant authorities, agencies and bodies, including local and regional authorities, law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, public prosecutors, support service providers as well as non-governmental organisations, social services, including child protection or welfare authorities, education and healthcare providers, social partners, without prejudice to their autonomy, and other relevant organisations and entities.

2.Such mechanisms shall in particular pertain to the individual assessments under Articles 18 and 19, and the provision of protection and support measures under Article 21 and Chapter 4, the guidelines for law enforcement and judicial authorities under Article 23, and in the trainings for professionals as referred to in Article 37.

Article 41 - Cooperation with non-governmental organisations 

Member States shall cooperate with and consult civil society organisations, including non-governmental organisations working with victims of violence against women or domestic violence, in particular in providing support to victims, concerning policymaking initiatives, information and awareness-raising campaigns, research and education programmes and in training, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the impact of measures to support and protect victims.

Article 42 - Cooperation between intermediary service providers

Member States shall facilitate the taking of self-regulatory measures by providers of intermediary services in connection to this Directive, in particular to reinforce internal mechanisms to tackle the online material referred to in Article 25(1) and to improve the training of their employees concerned on preventing, assisting and supporting the victims of the offences referred to therein.

Article 43 - Union level cooperation 

Member States shall take appropriate action to facilitate cooperation between each other to improve the implementation of this Directive. Such cooperation shall aim at least at:

(a)exchanging best practices and consulting each other in individual cases, including through Eurojust and the European Judicial Network in criminal matters;

(b)exchanging information and best practices with relevant Union agencies;

(c)providing assistance to Union networks working on matters directly relevant to violence against women and domestic violence.

Article 44 - Data collection and research

1.Member States shall have a system in place for the collection, development, production and dissemination of statistics on violence against women or domestic violence, including the forms of violence referred to in Articles 5 to 10.

2.The statistics shall include the following data disaggregated by sex, age of the victim and of the offender, relationship between the victim and the offender and type of offence:

(a)the number of victims who experienced violence against women or domestic violence during the last 12 months, last five years and lifetime;

(b)the annual number of such victims, of reported offences, of persons prosecuted for and convicted of such forms of violence, obtained from national administrative sources.

3.Member States shall conduct a population-based survey every 5 years using the harmonised methodology of the Commission (Eurostat) to gather the data referred to in paragraph 2, point (a), and on this basis assess the prevalence of and trends in all forms of violence covered by this Directive.

Member States shall transmit those data to the Commission (Eurostat) [3 years after the entry into force of the directive] at the latest.

4.In order to ensure administrative data comparability across the Union, Member States shall collect administrative data on the basis of common disaggregations developed in cooperation with and according to the methodology developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality in accordance with paragraph 5. They shall transmit this data to the European Institute for Gender Equality on a yearly basis. The transmitted data shall not contain personal data.

5.The European Institute for Gender Equality shall support Member States in the data gathering referred to in paragraph 2, point (b), including by establishing common standards on counting units, counting rules, common disaggregations, reporting formats, and on the classification of criminal offences.

6.The Member States shall make the collected statistics available to the public. The statistics shall not contain personal data.

7.The Member States shall support research on root causes, effects, incidences and conviction rates of the forms of violence covered by this Directive.

CHAPTER 7 - FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 45 - Amendment to Directive 2011/93/EU

In Article 3 of Directive 2011/93/EU, the following paragraphs are added:

“7.    Member States shall ensure that the following intentional conduct shall be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 12 years:

(a)    engaging with a child below the age of sexual consent in any act of vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature, with any bodily part or object;

(b)    causing a child below the age of sexual consent to engage with another person in any act of vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature, with any bodily part or object.

8. Where the child is above the age of sexual consent and does not consent to the act, Member States shall ensure that the conduct set out in paragraph 7 is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

9. For the purpose of paragraph 8, Member States shall ensure that a non-consensual act is understood as an act which is performed without the child’s consent given voluntarily, or where the child is unable to form a free will due to the presence of circumstances referred to in paragraph 5, including the child’s physical or mental condition such as a state of unconsciousness, intoxication, sleep, illness or bodily injury.

Consent can be withdrawn at any moment during the act. The absence of consent cannot be refuted exclusively by the child’s silence, verbal or physical non-resistance or past sexual conduct.”

Article 46 - Level of protection 

This Directive establishes minimum rules. Member States may introduce or maintain provisions with higher standards, including such which provide a higher level of protection and support for victims.

Article 47 - Reporting

1.By [seven years after the entry into force of this Directive] at the latest, Member States shall communicate to the Commission all relevant information concerning the application of this Directive necessary for the Commission to draw up a report on the application of this Directive.

2.On the basis of the information provided by Member States pursuant to paragraph 1, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report in which it reviews the application of this Directive.

Article 48 - Relationship with other Union acts

1.This Directive shall not affect the application of the following legal acts:

(a)Directive 2011/36/EU,

(b)Directive 2011/93/EU,

(c)Directive 2011/99/EU,

(d)Directive 2012/29/EU,

(e)Regulation (EU) No 606/2013,

(f)[Regulation (EU) …/… on a Single Market for Digital Services].

2.The specific measures of prevention, protection of and support to victims under this Directive shall apply in addition to measures laid down in Directives 2011/36/EU, 2011/93/EU and 2012/29/EU.

Article 49 - Non-regression clause

Nothing in this Directive shall be construed as lowering, limiting or derogating from any of the rights and procedural safeguards that are guaranteed under the law of any Member State which provides a higher level of protection. Member States shall not lower that higher level of protection guaranteed at the time of entry into force of this Directive.

Article 50 - Transposition

1.Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by [two years after entry into force] at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 51 - Entry into force

This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Article 52 - Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States in accordance with the Treaties.