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EU: fight against violence against women and girls

International Women’s Day - 8 March 2005
Achievements from the Daphne Programme in the fight against violence against women and girls

More than 150 Daphne projects, worth € 17 million, have been implemented since 1997 in favour of women who are victims of violence or to find ways to prevent violence from occurring

The Daphne Programme, its projects and its results are recognised throughout Europe and beyond as a unique contribution to the fight against violence and as a model of good practice in this area. This emerges regularly in international forums held throughout the world.

In part this is because the Daphne Programme has never set limits on the definition of violence but has encouraged those preparing projects to explore violence in all its diversity and impact. As a result, since its inception the Daphne Programme has studied and found innovative responses to most types of violence, including violence in the family, violence in schools and other institutions, violence at work, commercial sexual exploitation, genital mutilation, domestic/family violence, trafficking in human beings, and the many forms of violence that afflict not only the public at large but particularly vulnerable groups such as disabled people, ethnic minorities and people living and working on the streets.

The original approach of the Daphne Programme is that it works with organisations directly in contact with victims and those at risk. Most of these organisations implement their actions with the involvement of the ultimate beneficiaries (women, young people and children), giving them the opportunity to participate in the design, the objectives and actions of the project and not be just passive recipients. So far, more than 1000 organisations have participated in Daphne projects in favour of women and have been funded.

“Some of the partners were themselves disabled women protagonists of the project in every way. The partner-beneficiaries developed the project themselves, evaluating it as it went along. A sample product was sent to three countries and 30 disabled women worked on its evaluation” (External assessment of Project 1999/268).

Clearly, NGOs benefit from Daphne. They have drawn undeniable benefit from taking part in European partnerships, either as a result of the lessons they have learnt or by improving coordination and management skills or simply their impact in their own community. The Daphne Programme, they say, has opened doors for them that were closed before they became ‘European partners’. The Daphne Programme can already be deemed successful in sustaining NGO mobilisation at all levels, resulting in many new partnerships and alliances that contribute to the development of more coherent policies against violence at European level.
“Others” refers to Trade Unions, Forums, Associations, Federations
Who are the beneficiaries reached by these actions? A detailed breakdown leads to the following categories :

“Others” relates to Prisoners, soldiers, etc.


The types of violence addressed by the projects are the following :

“Others” relates to Self-harm, physical punishment, racism and exclusion.

Outputs and Outcomes
The projects supported by the Daphne Programme have resulted in many different outputs (151 projects in favour of women yielded 252 identifiable outputs [1]).

“An expert meeting was organised at month 11 of the project. It brought together 50 European FGM stakeholders. The project succeeded in bringing together relevant partners in the field across Europe and establishing the first expert network in this important field. The changes brought about in European treatment of responses to FGM can largely be traced back from this initial project and the commonality across Europe of those responses to FGM is due almost entirely to this project and its subsequent chapters.” (Project 1997/096 and subsequently 1999/036, 2001/225, 2002/040, 2002/058, 2003/028, 2003/099)


To have these outputs from the project is already useful, but to see them being shared is not only more satisfying but promises greater and wider impact. One of the main objectives of the Daphne Programme is to disseminate the good practices that are developed and have them used elsewhere in Europe (and often beyond), so that they can improve the lives of more beneficiaries and reduce the risk that others will become victims. The impact of the Daphne developments were analysed and can be listed as follows :

Often, one of the main benefits of being funded by the Commission is that it triggers actions at national or regional level.

“The project was explained in general meetings of CCOO trade union in Spain so that sexual harassment has formed part of union negotiations and agreements. Workers now get a good service and union representatives now have negotiated clauses to support prevention from sexual harassment” (project 1998/152).

“During the project, partners discussed four times with the head of the police of the city of Frankfurt. The aim was to change the attitude of police and see hate crime against lesbian women as a phenomenon they have to deal with. As a result, the Frankfurt police has been trained.” (project 2000/021).

2001/165: creation of a new information/counseling service for victims of family violence at a police setting in Portugal.

Another important ‘plus’ is the transfer of good practice from one part of Europe to another, or from one group to another.

2000/330: Expansion of the training sessions addressing black and migrant groups on domestic violence from local level in The Netherlands to Birmingham and Ireland.


Although having an impact on legislation is not a specific objective of the Daphne Programme, it has been estimated that 12% of the projects did have a documentable impact on legislation and/or on authorities. These are :


This is an important spin-off of successful Daphne initiatives. It moves Daphne beyond direct help to victims and those at risk to a longer-term contribution through input to discussions and policy-making. Project co-ordinators also regularly report that their Daphne project gave them more visibility and credibility with their local or national authorities. Examples of this are :

2001/042: Development of a treatment programme for all Internet sex offenders by UK authorities as a result of this project.

2001/020: Creation of a Forensic Nursing Committee in Ireland for women victims of rape.

1999/066: Establishment by the Portuguese Government, in May 2000, of the national help-line for victims of domestic violence.

1999/161: Influence on the creation of a new Sex Offence Bill in the UK.

1999/080: Inclusion of ‘same-sex partnerships’ in the German civil law on protecting victims of domestic violence.

1999/082: Influence on the adoption by the European Institutions in 2002 of the new Community Action 97/154/JAI in order to include all the forms of contemporary slavery.

1999/096: Influence on the adoption of the new German Law “Gewaltschutz Gesetz” on domestic violence according to which women can go to courts and apply for the offenders to leave the abode

2001/074: Amendment to the UK Mental Health Act based on evidence from the project co-ordinator concerning the issue of consent for women with learning disabilities, derived from the experience gained in this project.

A national organisation has been founded: the Broken Rainbow, where counselling services are available for lesbians (project 2001/021).

Daphne projects also often go on to achieve broader impact and to ‘add value’ through wide dissemination of results and development and adaptation of outcomes in other countries or with different groups. This is important because it increases the coverage and impact of the project’s impacts and lessons. In these cases, in fact, the Commission funding can be seen as ‘seed capital’.

One of the aims of the project was to obtain further funding, which we got from the national Ministry of Youth, Family, Elders and Women. They will fund finishing the product and dissemination (project 1999/096).

1997/043: Provision of further funding to project activities by the Regional Government of Linz, previously unsinterested in responses to trafficking.

A project aimed at raising awareness and knowledge on how masculinity contributes to male violence against women. It shared information, developed networking and interchanged staff and trainers with a project funded by the Catholic Overseas Development Funds. In fact the Daphne project replicates the masculinity training applied by the contemporary project in the South American countries. This contributes to reinforcing the links between European practitioners and work being carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean (project 2000/027).

Some figures

Daphne Initiative: 1997-1999, € 13 million

Daphne Programme: 2000-2003, € 20 million

Daphne II Programme: 2004-2008, € 50 million

Between 1997 and 2004, 361 projects were funded, of which two were for 3-years duration and 46 for 2 years; 134 projects were specifically dedicated to children and young people, 95 specifically in favour of women and 133 to combined populations of women, young people and children.

A total of € 37,5 million were spent on these projects.

In average, projects include 6 – 7 partners, usually from 3 – 4 different EU countries.

Additional information

More information and examples of projects can be found on the Daphne website in 11 languages at the following address:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/project/daphne/fr/index.htm (welcome page in English, French and German; most documents in 20 languages)

http://www.daphne-toolkit.org/ (English only, so far). Description of the 303 funded projects (1997 – 2003) and of their results and impacts. Includes all relevant documents (Video clips, reports, studies, posters, etc.). Also available on DVD and CD-ROM.

[1] The report on the final evaluation of the Daphne programme (2000-2003) details all the results as well as it assesses the effectiveness, efficiency and the relevance of the programme : http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/funding/daphne/doc/daphne_final_report01_2004_en.pdf

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