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Violence against women – a great issue for nursing profession!

by efn efn

For years, EFN has highlighted a major issue which characterizes the society of our time: violence against women. This is even more of a problem for nurses who are mostly female. Nurses are at the frontline of addressing many forms of violence, due to the role they play in keeping patients and communities safe. Violence and harassment against nurses are not new and is totally unacceptable, as it has an enormous negative impact on nurses’ psychological and physical well-being and on their job motivation, with nurses’ leaving the profession, and puts the quality of care and patients’ safety at risk.

At this regard, in April 2021, EFN published a Position Statement on Violence and Harassment Against Nurses with the aim to shed the lights on all the risks to which nurses are exposed in their frontline job to protect and save lives.

Moreover, in the ENRF Policy Brief “Workplace Violence Against Nurses in the European Union”, EFN proposed a binary perspective with which to view the set of potentially effective interventions: creating an enabling external environment and aiming at promoting internally capacity within the profession.

EFN participated to the LIBE – FEMM: Directive on violence against women during which the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence has been analysed and discussed. According to this Directive, new measures have been introduced for strengthening the protection of women who are victims of violence and minors.

Furthermore, it emerged a great interest from the European Members to integrate what it is indicated in the Istanbul Convention in the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. It is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators. EU accession to the Istanbul Convention is one of the priorities in the EU 2020-2025 gender equality strategy.

The Committees on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) jointly adopted the interim report on EU accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) with 68 votes in favour, 13 against and 3 abstention.

As stated by Pina Picierno – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament: “This directive is good news and long awaited. Some concepts of the source text have been strengthened. Support tools are not yet sufficient and each member state must increase efforts to support women. The goal of this Directive is precisely to strengthen these tools. There is still a lot to do”

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence: EU accession is still awaiting for the Parliament’s vote, but the Swedish Council Presidency has made it one of its priorities. This strengthened form of protection for women is essential for nurses who are forced to work every day in exhausting working conditions and they are subjected to various forms of violence and abuse. Lots of nurses are leaving the profession and, for that reason, the healthcare ecosystem is collapsing. No more time to lose!