From the very beginning Women?s Rights Centre fights to improve the legal aspects, that would help protect women from violence and discrimination, and assure their fundamental rights. Our experience helps us to expose legal loopholes hindering violence prevention. We have taken an active part in preparing an alternative NGOs? report on women?s rights for 1995 UN World Conference on Women.
Thanks to our influence Polish Constitution guarantees now equal status of women and men in political, social, economic, and family life (art. 33 of Constitution). We have been lobbying for amendments in labour law to protect women from discrimination and sexual harassment in their workplace. We are increasing society knowledge on international standards of women?s rights recognised by the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
Violence against women
Women?s Rights Centre was calling upon ratification of the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and changes regarding risk assessment, enforcement proceedings and the definition of rape. On 13th April 2015 the official documents ratifying the Convention were signed by former Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski, in our Warsaw office.
Through cooperation with Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) the Foundation was actively working to influence international laws and regulations to improve women and children safety in the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
We are still actively working on amendments in Polish legislative system to place them in line with the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the European Parliament?s directives.
Women?s Rights Centre was taking part in drafting of a bill against domestic violence in 1996, 2005 and 2010, yet the acts eventually accepted by the Polish Parliament were not entirely coherent with our vision and did not provide full protection for women and children. Thus, our further work is still focused on amendments of this bill to reach international standards set by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament (Directive 2012/29/EU).
We are actively working on amendments to the Polish criminal code, especially contributing to changes in enforcement proceedings and the definition of rape. The amendments were eventually accepted in 2014, nevertheless the definition of rape as presented by the criminal code is still not coherent with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Foundation has played an important role in promulgating the concept of economic violence and introducing it into Polish law. In 2012 we cooperated with The Kronenberg Foundation on the project aiming to introduce legislative changes in this field. We provided substantial support to the Institute of Public Affairs in their research on economic violence.