We, the participants in the Final Conference of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence, organised jointly by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Austrian Parliament:
- thanking the Austrian Parliament for the outstanding organisation of the Final Conference;
- reiterating that domestic violence against women is a serious violation of human rights, which is incompatible with the Council of Europe’s values;
- convinced that national parliaments have a major role to play in combating this scourge by adopting legislation to protect victims, punish perpetrators, prevent this evil and muster the necessary resources to implement and supervise the application of the laws adopted;
- welcoming the impetus that the Parliamentary Assembly gave for the launch of the campaign "Stop domestic violence against women", and highlighting the involvement of the Parliamentary Assembly and national parliaments in implementing the parliamentary dimension of the Council of Europe campaign to combat violence against women, one of the main effects of which was to get men more involved in action to combat violence against women;
- welcoming, in particular, the work carried out by the contact parliamentarians appointed by national parliaments, who ensured, over the two-year campaign, that it would be implemented by national parliaments, and made outstanding efforts to raise awareness among parliamentarians and promote legislative reform, in close co-operation with the national delegations to the Assembly;
- highlighting the fruitful co-operation established with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the European Parliament and the Nordic Council over the course of the campaign;
- convinced that joint action by national authorities (parliaments and governments), local and regional authorities and civil society is one of the keys to eradicating domestic violence against women, which stems from an unequal relationship between women and men in society;
- welcoming the Campaign to End Violence against Women (2008-2015) launched by the United Nations, and emphasising the useful contribution that the Council of Europe and, in particular, the Parliamentary Assembly could make to this;
adopt the following Declaration:
1. We reaffirm the commitment of the national parliaments of the Council of Europe member states and the parliaments enjoying observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly to combating violence against women, including domestic violence and to taking all the necessary measures to ensure that victims are protected, perpetrators are punished and this human rights violation is prevented.
2. Accordingly, we invite the parliaments of the member states to continue the work of adopting and/or supervising the application of laws to combat domestic violence against women or, at least, to adopt and/or supervise the application of the seven key measures set out by the Parliamentary Assembly in Resolution 1582 (2007).
3. We invite the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and national parliaments to continue networking with parliamentarians from the 47 member states involved in action to combat violence against women and to further involve men in this action. We commit ourselves to continue monitoring measures taken at national level, report back to PACE, and, as appropriate, give impetus to further steps needed.
4. We invite the Council of Europe to draw up a European Framework Convention to combat violence against women, including domestic violence and to involve parliamentarians and NGOs in the drafting process. This instrument should take account of the specific aspects linked to equality between women and men and be designed to protect victims, punish perpetrators and prevent this human rights violation.
Vienna, 30 April 2008