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Action to combat violence against children, young persons and women: the Daphne programme

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Action to combat violence against children, young persons and women: the Daphne programme

To contribute towards ensuring a high level of protection of physical and mental health by the protection of children, young persons and women against violence (including violence in the form of sexual exploitation and abuse), by the prevention of violence and by the provision of support for victims of violence in order, in particular, to prevent future exposure to violence. This programme expired in 2003 and has been replaced by the Daphne II programme.


Decision No 293/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 January 2000 adopting a programme of Community action (the Daphne programme) (2000 to 2003) on preventive measures to fight violence against children, young persons and women [Official Journal L 34 of 09.02.2000].


The Decision deals firstly with the concept of violence of which children, young persons and women may be the victims. While describing the serious consequences of these violent acts, the text includes the definition of the term "health" according to the World Health Organisation, namely, a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The need for concerted action throughout the world to defend human rights and to eliminate violence has long been recognised at different levels and in different ways.

Several measures have been taken along these lines, such as the Convention of 1979 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention of 1989 on the Rights of the Child, the platform for action of the 1995 Beijing Conference, and the 1996 Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action at the first World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

The four-year Daphne programme (2000 to 2003) was also designed to provide information on violence against children, young people and women while being a significant complementary aid to existing programmes. Although numerous national projects are fundamental to the success of these initiatives, the added value of the Community dimension is high.

This programme represents very much a beginning of cooperative action by European non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and voluntary organisations in the fight against violence towards children, young people and women. In many cases, they provide services which the public authorities lack the ability or the power to provide. Society will benefit if the expertise and experience of the NGOs and their ideas and programmes are stimulated and disseminated throughout the Community and shared with like-minded organisations in other Member States.

The actions proposed by the NGOs under the programme involved setting up and reinforcing European networks and implementing innovative pilot projects, the results of which are capable of transfer to other Member States and regions, thereby providing added value at European level. The Daphne programme will encourage and stimulate the dissemination of good practices. Here, while leaving a large part to subsidiarity, the European Union intends to play an important role.

Information campaigns were organised to raise the awareness of public opinion of the detrimental personal and social effects of violence on victims, in the family and the community and society.

The aim of action by NGOs was to improve and develop the following areas:

  • exchanges of information, coordination and cooperation (between the NGOs and voluntary organisations in the different Member States and public authorities, including law-enforcement officers and social workers);
  • awareness-raising and exchanges of best practice by means of pilot projects and research programmes.

As part of the pre-accession strategy and in order to encourage respect for human rights, the Daphne programme was open to the applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey under special provisions.

For the purpose of the implementation of this programme the Commission was assisted by an advisory committee consisting of representatives of each Member State and chaired by the Commission.

In addition the Commission will take the necessary measures to ensure the monitoring and continuous evaluation of the programme. The Commission presented a report to the European Parliament and the Council during the second year of the programme and on its completion.

The budget for the Daphne programme which ran from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2003 was set at EUR 20 million.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision No 293/2000/EC

9.2.2000 - 31.12.2003


OJ L 34 of 9.2.2000


Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Daphne Programme (2000-2003) [COM(2002) 169 final - Not published in the Official Journal]. Article 9 of Decision No 293/2000/EC adopting the Daphne Programme (2000-2003) requires the Commission to present a mid-term evaluation report to the European Parliament and to the Council.

The report sets out the state of play regarding the programme and summarises its main achievements. The Commission is pleased with the success of the programme during its first two years in existence. In 2000 and 2001 Daphne funded 73 new projects. This shows that by financing activities combating all forms of violence (such as domestic violence or violence towards women, ethnic minorities and disabled persons) the programme has responded to profound needs within society.

As regards the projects financed by the programme, the evaluation report identifies the following trends:

  • as regards areas of activity, clearly sexual violence in all its forms comes top in terms of the projects financed by the programme. It is followed by gender/family-related violence, internet pornography and violence against children;
  • a majority of projects deal with prevention of and protection against violence, but other important goals such as legislative measures and treatment of victims and offenders are also present;
  • as for the methods used to implement these objectives, the most important is networking, followed by dissemination of good practice, production of materials, awareness-raising and training.

According to the report, organisations have gained much from their participation in European partnerships via the Daphne programme, be it by learning from the substance, by improving coordination and management skills or simply by enhancing their external image. The Daphne programme has successfully continued the mobilisation of the NGO sector at all levels, resulting in many new partnerships and alliances that help to ensure more comprehensive European policies on violence.

In December 2001, at the Second World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Yokohama), the international community acknowledged Daphne as an important instrument in the fight against violence.

Last updated: 16.08.2007