A new Europe-wide campaign has been launched aimed at stopping a major human rights abuse: violence in the home. This comes just after the UN5;s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the latest initiative in the Senate in Madrid. Several hundred delegates from the 46-nation Council of Europe held a major conference on the subject. Spain is among the most active in it. Studies for individual countries show that a quarter of all women have experienced some sort of physical violence.
The first message of one of the conference participants – herself a victim of domestic violence – to others in threatening situations is that they protect themselves by seeking help from an association or a doctor, or tell the police. Most violent acts against women are carried out by male partners and ex-partners. The cost to society of domestic violence is enormous; in financial terms, according to the Council’s research, it is 34 billion euros per year in the UK alone.