Harmful Practices

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Harmful Practices

The European Commission has commissioned a study on Traditional Harmful Practices (Study)

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Context of the Study

The Daphne III Programme aims at preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, young people and women and at protecting victims and groups at risk. It was adopted on 20 June 2007 by the European Parliament and the Council by Decision No. 779/2007/EC as part of the General Programme "Fundamental Rights and Justice".

The general objective of Daphne III is to protect children, young people and women against all forms of violence and to attain a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion. These general objectives will contribute to the development of Community policies, in particular those related to public health, human rights and gender equality, as well as actions aimed at protection of children's rights, and the fight against trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation.

The programme's specific objective is to contribute to the prevention of, and the fight against, all forms of violence occurring in the public or the private domain against children, young people and women, including sexual exploitation and trafficking in human beings, by taking preventive measures and by providing support and protection for victims and groups at risk.

Objectives of the Study

The Study aims at providing assistance to the European Union in defining and harmonising its action to end Harmful Traditional Practices, based on proven actions in Europe and elsewhere in both policy and practice. The Study shall, in particular, break new ground for the EU and provide concrete paths forward in relation to both harmonisation of legislation and policy and action at grassroots and governmental levels.

For the purpose of this Study, harmful traditional practices will include: female genital mutilation/cutting; honour-related violence including so-called honour killings; forced marriage; force feeding or starvation for cosmetic purposes; other violent and coercive acts justified on the grounds of tradition, culture or religion that harm the well-being of those who are victims of them, with particular attention to the impact on women and girls.


Implementation of the Study

The Study is divided into three parts.

Part One: Current legislation

Part one involves the review of current legislation within the EU.

This will include the following activities.

- A mapping of all current legislation in the 27 Member States of the EU that relates directly or indirectly to harmful traditional practices (to end-2008 plus any proposed changes or changes in progress);

- Presenting examples of proven legislation in countries outside the EU;

- On the basis of these, defining a comprehensive checklist of minimum standards for legislation relating to harmful traditional practices in the EU; and

- Defining a matrix illustrating how current laws in the 27 EU Member States measure up against these minimum standards, with an explanation of major areas that need to be addressed.

Part Two: Implementation of laws

Part two involves an assessment of the effectiveness of the regulations and include the following activities.

- Research and documentation of case studies of the implementation of relevant laws in the EU since 1998, indicating both successful and unsuccessful investigations and prosecutions;

- Presenting examples of case studies of successful implementation in the rest of the world since 1998; and

- On the basis of these, proposing an overview of factors that are likely to (i) result in successful implementation; and (ii) result in unsuccessful implementation.

Part Three: Proven actions (including policies) to end harmful traditional practices

Part three focuses on the role of civil society in fighting Traditional Harmful Practices. It will present:

- Documentation and description, as comprehensive as possible, of civil society initiatives relating to harmful traditional practices undertaken since 1996, including: studies, research and data collection; prevention actions including information/communication/education and behaviour change; lobbying; networking and information exchange; development of tools including for training purposes; assistance to victims, rehabilitation and reintegration; other areas where relevant;

- Applicable indicators (at least four) to measure the efficacy of these initiatives; and

- A ranking of the initiatives on the basis of the application of these indicators and: (i) identification of those initiatives that might be considered potential good practice, with explanation of why this conclusion has been reached, as well as how the initiatives might be scaled up, adapted or adopted for use in EU Member States; (ii) identification of initiatives that might be considered bad practice, with explanation of how this conclusion has been reached and why the initiatives should not be reproduced or supported in EU Member States.