All EU Member States have criminalised some forms of violence against womenand, together with the EU institutions, have worked to strengthen legal frameworks and better determine the scale of the phenomenon. At EU level, gender-based violence is a policy priority, as reflected in the strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015) and in the follow-up strategic engagement for gender equality (2016-2019).

There have been several important developments in this area since 2013: the EU has taken steps towards ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention); the EU Anti-trafficking Directive has been complemented by the EU strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings 2012-2016 and the 2017 communication stepping up EU actions in this area; and the implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive and the European Protection Order Directive has progressed in Member States.

Nevertheless, there remains significant room to further strengthen and harmonise legal frameworks across the EU Member States and to produce more reliable, comparable and high-quality EU data on VAW.