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Critics, journalists and politicians have rightly focused on the racist and divisive politics of UKIP in the run-up to the European elections on Thursday (22 May).

But Farage’s and UKIP’s views on women and violence against women are just as odious as those on immigrants.

Leaving aside for the moment the recent comments of some of his party on women, mothers and work (see below), Farage has not yet been challenged on why he and seven other UKIP MEPs voted AGAINST a European Parliament bill laying out proposals to combat violence against women.

The bill proposed, among other measures (see below for a link to the full bill and a summary of its main points):

  • ·         that men's violence against women should be regarded as a violation of human rights
  • ·         to formulate a zero-tolerance policy as regards all forms of violence against women
  • ·         to recognise sexual violence within marriage as a crime and to make rape within marriage a criminal offence
  • ·         that victims of rape should receive free testing for sexually transmitted diseases
  • ·         to closely monitor human trafficking across all borders
  • ·         to not accept any reference to cultural practices as a mitigating factor in cases of violence against women, crimes of honour or female genital mutilation
  • ·         to provide safe shelters including sufficient financial resources for all victims of violence against women
  • ·         for Member States to take appropriate measures to stop female genital mutilation (FGM)

 Of all 514 MEPs who voted on these measures, only 14 voted against. Eight of them were UKIP members.

There is no party in Britain apart from UKIP that would:

  • ·         not unequivocally condemn violence against women and girls
  • ·         vote against support for victims of sexual violence
  • ·         vote against free STD testing for rape victims

Farage has said that ‘nobody has done more in UKIP to promote women than I have’. This spectacularly misses the point. Having some women members does not stop UKIP from being a sexist party – or change the fact that all the MEPs who voted against the measures above, ie issues that did not affect them directly, were men.

Farage also said in his disastrous interview with James O’Brien on Friday 16 May that ‘all parties have their idiots’. But as Cathy Newman has pointed out, no other leader would get away with the comments on and attitude to women that Farage and UKIP have.

A few other gems:

Major donor Demetri Marchessini said women cannot be raped by their husbands and that women should not wear trousers

Eight (male) UKIP MEPs either voted against or abstained from a European vote on equal pay for men and women in 2013

Treasurer Stuart Wheeler thinks that women are not ‘competitive’ enough to be in a boardroom

Senior UKIP member Stuart Agnew said that women with babies ‘don’t have the ambition to go right to the top’.

Former member Godfrey Bloom called women ‘sluts’ and questioned why businesses would hire ‘ladies of child-bearing age’.

These are too many idiots. Bloom was kicked out and Farage agreed that it was ‘possibly not’ a good idea to take donations from Marchessini. But this contempt for women is too consistent a theme. Do you, Nigel Farage, and your party support gender equality and oppose violence against women, or not?

We call upon Nigel Farage to:

Explain immediately what UKIP’s policy is on gender equality, violence against women and how violence against women should be combated.

Agree to an interview or debate on his and UKIP’s policy towards gender equality and violence against women.

Explain why he and other UKIP members voted against these proposals. Does Nigel Farage think sexual violence and rape in marriage should be legal?

Explain why he is against combating violence against women and girls, including FGM perpetuated on girls as young as three. 

**Full text of the European Parliament resolution on the current situation in combating violence against women and any future action, 2 February 2006**

Main points (thanks to Stuart Jeffrey):

1.  Recommends, as regards men's violence against women, the Commission and the Member States:

            a)         to regard it to be a violation of human rights, reflecting unequal gender power relations and to adopt an all-encompassing policy approach to combat it, including effective methods of prevention and punishment;

            b)         to regard men's violence against women as a structural phenomenon and as one of the main impediments to efforts to overcome inequality between women and men;

            c)         to formulate a zero-tolerance policy as regards all forms of violence against women;

            d)        to adopt a framework for cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), with a view to developing policies and practices to combat domestic violence;

            e)         to establish harmonised methodology, definitions and criteria, in cooperation with Eurostat, the Fundamental Rights Agency, and the future European Gender Institute in order to gather comparable and compatible data throughout the EU concerning men's violence against women, in particular, comprehensive studies of prevalence;

            f)         to appoint national rapporteurs in order to gather, exchange and process information and statistics on men's violence against women, including information on children growing up in violent environments, and to promote the exchange of best practice among Member States, accession and candidate countries;

            g)         to highlight in all work relating to men's violence against women how such violence affects the children;

            h)        to establish a single system of recording instances of assault by Member States' competent authorities, such as the judiciary, the police, hospitals and social services, in order to ensure that the data is recorded jointly and that greater use is made of them;

            i)          to provide appropriate education and training for professionals who are responsible for recording incidents and data relating to domestic violence in order to ensure that they carry out their duties with the required consistency;

            j)          to earmark funds for investigation into the costs of men's violence against women in the EU;

            k)         to establish the necessary means to monitor the activity and progress of the accession and candidate countries regarding treatment of women in all areas of society, and to make the safety and treatment of women in these countries a criterion for accession;

            l)          to develop programmes and surveys targeting women who are members of culturally specific communities or ethnic minority groups, with a view to obtaining an account of the specific forms of violence that these women encounter and planning appropriate methods of dealing with them;

            m)       to closely monitor human trafficking across all borders;

2.  Calls on the Member States to establish partnership schemes between the law-enforcement authorities, NGOs, victims" refuges, and other appropriate authorities and to intensify cooperation to ensure the effective implementation of laws aimed at combating men's violence against women, and to raise the awareness of officials at all levels of issues relating to men's violence against women;

3.  Urges the Member States to take appropriate measures concerning men's violence against women in their national laws, in particular:

            a)         to recognise sexual violence within marriage as a crime and to make rape within marriage a criminal offence;

            b)         not to accept any reference to cultural practices as a mitigating factor in cases of violence against women, crimes of honour or female genital mutilation;

            c)         to cooperate and exchange best practice with the authorities in countries with more experience of crimes of honour;

            d)        to ensure victims' right to safe access to justice and effective enforcement, including the provision of compensation;

            e)         to encourage the prosecution of accomplices to crimes of honour, such as any family members of the perpetrator who encouraged or ordered the crime of honour, in order to demonstrate firmly that such behaviour is unacceptable;

            f)         to take account of the fact that children who witness their mothers being battered could be regarded as victims, and thus to consider whether they should be entitled to damages in accordance with national law;

            g)         to consider the risks of joint residence orders in favour of perpetrators of violence against women and to establish effective measures that will ensure safe custody of children in cases of separation and divorce;

            h)        not to accept any references to intoxication by alcohol as a mitigating factor in cases of men's violence against women;

            i)          to combat the idea that working as a prostitute can be equated with doing a job;

4.  Calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures to ensure better protection and support of victims and those who are at risk of becoming victims of violence against women by:

            a)         providing qualified protection and legal, medical, social and psychological services and aid, including police protection;

            b)         providing proper training, in particular, psychological training, including in respect of children, to the staff of competent bodies dealing with men's violence against women, such as police officers, judicial personnel, health personnel, educators, youth and social workers and prison staff; in the event of the treatment of children in the form of talk therapy, it is particularly important that the child psychologists or therapists concerned are familiar with men's violence against women so that the father's violence against the mother and/or the child is not diminished or trivialised;

            c)         adopting a proactive, preventive and penal strategy towards the perpetrators of violence against women in order to reduce recidivism, and providing advisory services for access by the perpetrators either on their own initiative or under a court order; always carrying out adequate risk assessments in order to ensure the safety of women and any children in the process;

            d)        recognising the importance of providing support to victims¸ whether women or children, to help them become financially and psychologically independent from the perpetrator;

            e)         providing all necessary assistance, including transitional housing, to women and their children in cases of separation or divorce;

            f)         treating women who are victims of gender-based violence as a category entitled to priority access to community-housing projects;

            g)         providing safe shelters including sufficient financial resources;

            h)        providing a minimum income for women who have no other resources, in order to enable them to reintegrate into society in relative safety, in constant cooperation with advisory centres;

            i)          conducting specific employment action programmes for the victims of gender-based violence, so as to enable them to enter the labour market and achieve financial independence;

            j)          investigating the possibility of setting up 'multi-agencies' where victims can contact the appropriate authorities, such as representatives from the police, the public prosecutor and social and health services;

            k)         planning services and centres for the care and support of children of women who are victims of violence;

            l)          providing social and psychological support to children who have witnessed domestic violence;

            m)       providing free testing for sexually transmitted diseases in rape cases;

            n)        ensuring that all perpetrators of violence receive professional help and treatment;

            o)         providing proper protection for immigrants, especially single mothers and their children, who often have inadequate means of defence or knowledge of available resources to counter domestic violence in Member States;

5.  Calls on Member States to make use of the Daphne II Programme(12) in order to combat honour crimes in the Member States, to build and maintain more shelters for women who are victims of violence, including honour crimes, and to train experts who specialise in dealing with honour crime victims;

6.  Calls on the EU to address the problem of honour crimes, which has become an EU-wide problem with cross-border implications, and calls on Commission Vice President Frattini to follow up on his promise to organise a European conference on the issue;

7.  Calls on the Member States to act in order to lift the secrecy still surrounding men's violence against women in society, especially domestic violence by adopting measures to raise collective and individual awareness about men's violence against women;

8.  Calls on the Member States to develop public awareness and information programmes on domestic violence and to reduce the social stereotyping of the position of women in society through the education systems and the media;

9.  Calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures to stop female genital mutilation; stresses that preventing and banning female genital mutilation and prosecuting perpetrators must become a priority in all relevant EU policies and programmes; points out that immigrants residing in the Community should be aware that female genital mutilation is a serious assault on women's health and a violation of human rights; calls on the Commission in this context to devise a comprehensive strategic approach at EU level, with the aim of putting an end to the practice of female genital mutilation in the EU;

10.  Urges Member States to define acts of female genital mutilation  as an illegal act of violence against women, which constitutes a violation of their fundamental rights and a serious aggression against their physical integrity ; consequently regardless of where or in which country this act occurs against EU citizens or residents, such acts will be illegal;

11.  Calls on Member States either to implement specific legal provisions on female genital mutilation or to adopt such laws and to prosecute each person who conducts female genital mutilation;

12.  Calls for doctors who conduct genital mutilation of young women and girls not only to be prosecuted but also to have their practising licence withdrawn;

13.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that parents are held legally liable when acts of female genital mutilation occur on minors;

14.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that female genital mutilation is considered a reasonable argument for an asylum claim in order to protect the asylum seeker from inhuman treatment;

15.  Asks the Commission to declare a European Year against men's violence against women, as repeatedly requested by Parliament, and to produce a work plan to enable the phenomenon to be highlighted more clearly and provide means of speaking out against the current situation;

16.  Calls on the Commission to establish a programme entitled "Fight against violence" as a separate part of its framework programme on Fundamental Rights and Justice for the period 2007-2013;

17.  Considers it of utmost importance that reliable statistics exist regarding women's reporting of brutal or inhuman treatment to the law enforcement authorities;

18.  Regrets that, as the above-mentioned reporting is usually left unrecorded when no action is taken by law enforcement authorities, the statistics remain untrustworthy and unreliable;

19.  Calls, therefore, on the Member States to ensure that all reports by women of brutal or inhuman treatment are recorded, as well as the percentage of cases in which the law enforcement authorities took action and which types of action were used;

20.  Recalls that the burden of proof is often placed on women who are already in a disadvantaged situation;

21.  Calls on the Commission to establish a mechanism on the basis of which it would be possible to identify those Member States in which the situation of violence against women appears to be comparatively worse;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, health-care professional bodies and consumer organisations.

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