In January 2019, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order (MJPO) presented the Bill on violence against women and girls during a press conference. The bill that has been prepared covers gaps identified in the legislative framework and is perfectly suited to the national legislative. The bill is within the framework of the extensive guidelines established by the Istanbul Convention. It has been perceived by the public and civil society as an innovative legislative tool which will bring positive changes in the field, and ensure that the country will no longer tolerate any forms of violence against women and girls. Specifically, the Bill is reforming, modernises and expands the current legislative framework on violence against women. Moreover the Bill:
- Covers all forms of violence against women and girls as these are stated in the Istanbul Convention;
- Strengthens the protections and assistance of women and girls victims of violence;
- Sets out proportionate, deterrent and effective sanctions;
- Lays concrete basis for the provision of specialised assistance to victims;
- Sets out a comprehensive, holistic, women centred approach [while recognising the individual agency of women], as well as preventative actions and enforcement measures;
- Provides for the establishment of a coordinated body to implement the Istanbul convention, which amongst others, will undertake the responsibility for the creation of a unified data collection system on all forms of violence against women which will include desegregated data by sex and age of the victims and perpetrators and the relationship between them as well as the type of violence; and
- Sets the basis to establish international and national cooperation in the field of violence against women.
With regards to stalking and harassment, the Bill will regulate the protection of individuals from behaviour such as harassing and stalking, as well as behaviour that constitutes harassment, as well as other related offenses. The purpose of the Bill is to criminalize the offenses of harassment by varying the penalties imposed and its consequences on the victim, as defined in the Bill. The Bill also provides for the possibility for the court to issue decrees with a view to protecting the victim or other persons in his/her environment. A special section on urban therapies is included and, in particular, the right of the victim to compensation and rehabilitation after a final conviction is provided.
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