Zero tolerance on domestic violence against women and children requires close cooperation between authorities and institutions, Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg (Isamaa) said. Estonia is one of the signatories of the Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women, while the minister has also confirmed the raising of the age of consent in Estonia to 16, from November 1 this year.
Speaking at a Council of Europe (CoE) meeting and conference in Dublin, Ireland, at the end of last week, Danilson-Järg presented Estonia's efforts to prevent violence, adding that: "In order to fight against any kind of violence, it is necessary to work closely between various authorities and institutions and set common goals."
"In Estonia, we have initiated a violence prevention network consisting of practitioners and policy makers in order to prevent violence more effectively through coordinated activities. We have improved existing services and created new ones to better help victims. For example, orphanages have been established in Estonia for children who have experienced sexual violence. The new victim aid law, which the government has just sent to the Riigikogu, will also improve the options for getting help," Danilson-Järg went on, according to a justice ministry press release.
The Minister of Justice introduced a legal amendment that will come into effect on November 1 and which will raise the age of consent in Estonia from 14 to 16.
"This is an important step to prevent adults from manipulating and exploiting young teenagers," the minister went on, and also emphasized that violence often starts from a lack of safe and stable relationships between children and parents – making it vital to support these families and improve the life skills of children and young people from the ground up.
Organized by the Irish presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE and aimed at sharing the best practices of member states and to discuss ways to prevent and prevent family, sexual and gender-based violence, based on the principles of the Istanbul Convention, it was also considered important to emphasize the importance of investigating and prosecuting violent crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, including cases of sexual violence against women.
"The representatives of the countries expressed their full support to the Ukrainian delegation in the fight for the freedom and integrity of their land and people. There was a general consensus that the war must end and Ukraine must win," the Estonian minister went on.
Russia and Ukraine are both CoE member states, though Russia's membership is suspended and its representatives are excluded from CoE activity, following the invasion of Ukraine starting in late February.
Danilson-Järg also met with her Irish counterpart James Browne, and Rati Bregadze, her opposite number from Georgia, and with the head of the Norwegian government delegation, Erik Sandsmark Idsøe
Thirty member states of the European Commission, among them Estonia, joined the declaration Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women, drawn up during the meeting , which agreed on common lines of action in the fight against violence.
The CoE is an international organization which predates the EU and incorporates a much larger geographical area, with 46 member states.
The decision-making body of the CoE is the Committee of Ministers, whose chairmanship changes every six months. Ireland holds the presidency until November.
The CoE is also well-known as having given rise to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the ensuing European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Justice