Failure to include rape as an offence in EU legislation the wrong move

Senator Annie Hoey image
18 January 2024

Labour Senator Annie Hoey has condemned the move to exclude rape in the EU directive on violence against women.

Senator Hoey said:

“It is extremely disappointing and a failing for victims of sexual violence that the EU’s first directive on combatting violence against women and domestic violence will not include the crime of rape.

“This Directive is a crucial piece of legislation to tackle misogyny, violence against women and ensure that Member States put supports and protections in place for all women.

“It is especially important that all legislators reflect on our task to ensure that this culture is challenged. We need to see violence against women, and all forms of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence condemned and consigned to history. This Directive was a clear opportunity to do this.

“Failure to include rape as an offence sends a deeply disturbing message from Europe to the rest of the world. This an opportunity to correct the lack of uniformity in the treatment of the crime of rape across European countries. A consent-based definition of rape would have been a huge benefit for citizens across Europe and it is so disheartening to see this directive pass without the inclusion of rape.

“This failure also sends a deeply disappointing message to campaigners as well as victims of rape and sexual violence. It’s incredible to me that some member states, including Ireland, expressed concern about its inclusion. We need a radical culture shift as a global society to stamp out the power imbalance that remains between men and women and that leads to women experiencing horrendous acts of violence.

“There must be a mechanism for review of this legislation to allow for rape to be included in the future and this must be an urgent priority. We need strong legal protections for victims of rape and we need rape to be taken seriously as a crime across the EU.”

Stay up to date

Receive our latest updates in your inbox.
By subscribing you agree to receive emails about our campaigns, policies, appeals and opportunities to get involved. Privacy Policy

Follow us

Connect with us on social media