The European Commission is to propose a law to fight violence against women before the end of the year after a rise in cases during the Covid-19 pandemic, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.
“Women must be able to live freely and self-determinedly again,” she told the European Parliament in her annual State of the European Union address in Strasbourg.
“During the pandemic, too many women were deprived of this freedom” to express themselves, live their identity, and to “love who you want,” she said.
Restrictions imposed during the pandemic, which in EU countries included lockdowns, quarantines, and social “bubbles” as authorities tried to curb the spread of the coronavirus, exacerbated violence against women, according to initial though incomplete statistics across the bloc.
“It was a particularly terrible time for those who had nowhere to hide, nowhere to flee from their tormentors,” von der Leyen said.
The bill to be presented to the European Parliament for debate “is about effective prosecution, prevention, and protection, online and offline,” she said.