Have you been or do you know a victim of violence?
Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of that person's gender or violence that affects persons of a particular gender disproportionately. It can include violence against women, domestic violence against women, men or children living in the same domestic unit.
What to do if you witness gender-based violence or know someone who is a victim:
- Depending on the situation, victims can be reluctant to report their attacker(s) and it is important that you approach them sensitively.
- Let the victim know that you support them and that you will be discreet about any information they share, don’t pressure them to talk if they are not ready
- Listen without judgement Refer the victim to support services, share the phone numbers for shelters, social services and support groups and let them know that you are available to help them.
When talking to the victim of violence:
- Listen attentively and let them know you believe them
- Be compassionate and patient, respect their feelings and choices
- Tell them you are sorry to hear about the situation and that you want to help
- Do not minimise what they have experienced, tell them to move on or to stay silent or suggest that it may have been their fault
- If possible, offer the victim practical help such as making a safety plan, preparing an emergency bag or connecting them with crisis hotlines, support groups and domestic violence shelters.
Supporting someone who is a victim of gender-based violence can be difficult, make sure you are looking after yourself and reach out to organisations that can support you and help you better support the victim.
Keep your eyes open to the different types of gender-based violence.
Domestic violence can take on various forms, including physical, sexual, psychological and economic. Domestic violence may occur whether or not the offender shares or has shared a household with the victim. It can affect any person, including men, younger or older people, children and LGBTIQ persons.
Rape includes all types of sexual penetration, with any bodily part or object, that is done without consent, regardless of whether physical violence or use of force is involved. Initial consent is withdrawable at any time during the act and does automatically imply consent for future acts. Non-consensual sexual penetration is rape even when committed against a spouse or intimate partner.
Femicide is broadly defined as the killing of a woman or girl because of her gender and can take different forms, such as the murder of women as a result of intimate partner violence; the torture and misogynist slaying of women; killing of women and girls in the name of “honour”; and other forms.
in the European Union
The rights of victims’ family members
Many of the rights that apply to victims also apply to their family members, such as the right to access support services, the right to protection and the right to privacy.
Right to protection and to individual assessment
Victims and their family members have the right to be protected from secondary and repeat victimisation, intimidation, retaliation and emotional harm. The purpose of individual assessment is to identify whether victims have specific protection needs and to determine whether and to what extent they would benefit from special measures in the course of criminal proceedings. The dignity of victims must be protected when they are testifying.
Right to participate in criminal proceedings
Victims have the right to take part in criminal proceedings.
Right to support services
All victims have the right to confidential victim support services that is free of charge, acting in the interests of the victims before, during and for an appropriate time after criminal proceedings.
Right to information
Victims have the right to receive information on a range of topics including, but not limited to, what support is available and how to access it, compensation, restorative justice, protection, how to report criminal offences and how to access legal advice.
Right to understand and to be understood
Victims have the right to be heard, understood and respected. All communication with victims (written and spoken) must be simple and easy for them to understand.
Find out how keeping your eyes open can help victims of violence.