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European Parliament set to criminalise cyber violence against women – Andrews 

Ireland must do more to protect women online and offline

The European Parliament is set to criminalise all forms of physical and psychological violence against women both offline and online, in a landmark vote in Strasbourg today (Wednesday 24th April 2024).

Dublin MEP Barry Andrews has described the new EU Directive on Combating Violence Against Women as a major milestone in tackling misogyny and violence against women, which remains all too commonplace across Europe.

“This is a landmark vote that will require all Member States to put in place better supports and protections for all women in their respective countries. The Directive criminalises physical violence, as well as psychological, economic and sexual violence against women both offline and online,” the Fianna Fáil MEP explained.

“Under the new rules cyber violence will be criminalised, including cyber stalking, cyber harassment, cyber flashing, misogynist hate speech online, and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images including deep-fakes.

“The new rules are also aimed at preventing domestic violence and other forms of physical violence against women.  Ireland and other EU Member States will be required to reach new standards to protect women and ensure timely access to services when needed.

“Ireland will need to play its part by introducing better supports and protections for women.  I am calling on the Irish Government to introduce a full-time Designated Women’s Safety Officer as part of the new Dublin Taskforce recently announced by the Taoiseach. This must be a permanent role involving specialist training in domestic violence and sexual assault.

“We also need improved street lighting, shorter distances between bus stops and a dedicated transport police to increase safety for women in our communities. A Designated Women’s Safety Officer would ensure that such measures are incorporated into plans for Dublin. This should be replicated in other urban areas across the country.

“In Ireland, nine in ten women have said that they feel unsafe because of their gender. Texting a friend to say you are home, wearing headphones but playing no music, looking over your shoulder on the bus...these are behaviours that should not come naturally to women. This new Directive will be a wake-up call for all EU Member States, including Ireland, to do far more to protect women both offline and online.”

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