Orange the World: Austria Combating Violence Against Women

PeopleOther ♦ Published: November 24, 2022; 22:40 ♦ (Vindobona)

Violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread human rights violations. Especially in Austria, the worst violence against women recently occurred, namely femicides. In 2022, Austria will also participate in the UN campaign "Orange the World - 16 Days against Violence", which takes place annually between November 25, the International Day against Violence against Women and Girls, and December 10, the International Human Rights Day.

"Our priority is clear: violence against women, girls and children must have no place in Austria," said Minister Raab. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Andy Wenzel / Cropped

This initiative was launched by UN Women, the United Nations women's organization that promotes gender equality worldwide.

Gender-based violence occurs in a wide variety of forms in all societies, age groups and social classes. In addition to physical and psychological violence, women and girls also experience sexualized violence, for example as part of war tactics in armed conflicts. Tradition-based forms of violence, such as genital mutilation and forced marriages, affect countless women and girls worldwide. In addition, women who publicly stand up for their rights or work as independent journalists are targeted daily for oppression and attacks online and in the streets. The need to combat gender-based violence across national borders is demonstrated by the problem of human trafficking, which largely victimizes women and girls affected by poverty.

"Violence against women is completely unacceptable, women's rights are non-negotiable human rights," emphasized Minister for Women Susanne Raab at the press foyer after the Council of Ministers. On the occasion of the United Nations' "16 Days against Violence against Women", the government of Austria has also set measures for the protection against violence. The protection against violence has the highest priority in the women's department and the federal government, said Raab. According to the minister, resources have again been pooled and "massively increased as far as the protection against violence is concerned." Budgets have been increased in all the relevant departments, the women's department, the social department, the justice department and the interior department.

As a result, the violence protection centers can be fully financed, the budgets of the women's and girls' counseling centers can be increased, and the women's counseling centers for sexual violence can be expanded and cyber-violence training initiatives deployed. In addition, the Ministry of Women's Affairs has coordinated the provision of high-risk victims of FGM in women's shelters across the provinces and established the first FGM coordination office, an Austria-wide service and competence center, to improve the networking of all actors involved in the issue of female genital mutilation in Austria.

Austria's Foreign Ministry against violence against women

The Austrian Foreign Ministry is also sending out a signal against violence under this year's motto "Man(n) can end violence against women" and is also taking part in the "Orange the World - 16 days against violence" campaign in 2022.

For 16 days, the Foreign Ministry is making the problem of gender-based violence accessible to a wide audience on its social media channels. In addition, Austria's representations around the world are raising awareness of violence against women and girls and setting corresponding priorities in their work throughout the year.

"Worldwide, one in three women is affected by violence in the course of her life. It has a massive impact on the lives of those affected and deprives them of the opportunity to lead a free and self-determined life. One thing is clear: We must continue our efforts and take a clear stand against violence against women and girls. It has no place in our society," said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Due to the complexity of the problem, Austria focuses on preventing and combating gender-based violence throughout the year as part of its foreign policy, development cooperation and when providing humanitarian aid.

For example, Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) promotes initiatives that protect girls and women from violence, sexual exploitation, harassment and sexual abuse. It is particularly important to combat harmful social norms and traditions at the local level. In partner countries, ADC provides female victims of violence with psychosocial support and temporary safe shelters and aims to strengthen the social position of women in the long term. ADC aims to empower women economically and to lend weight to their right to physical integrity. Austria is currently supporting 23 ongoing projects from the Foreign Disaster Fund that help protect women and girls from violence.

At the international level, Austria is continuously committed to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe convention to combat violence against women and domestic violence, by as many Council of Europe member states as possible, but also by the EU itself. Austria will continue to work to combat gender-based violence in all its forms because the rights of women and girls are human rights.

Federal Chancellery of Austria