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Making sense of a trend: legal reforms on sexual violence in Europe, 13-14 June 2024, Leiden, Netherlands

Thursday 13 June 2024 - Friday 14 June 2024
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden

Throughout Europe, legislation on sexual crimes is going through remarkable reforms. Following the increasing attention to sexism and gender-based violence, notably in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the scope of transgressive behavior sanctioned by criminal law is widening. One such example is rape law: over the past four years, nine European countries have moved from coercion-based to consent-based rape law. Street harassment is another example: since the first European ban on street harassment was introduced in Brussels in 2014, similar laws and local ordinances have been introduced in various European countries, notably in France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain. Another recent extension of legislation on sexual crimes relates to online sexual crimes, enabled by technological change.

While these developments are taking place throughout Europe, there are notable differences when it comes to the details of legal reform as well as their framing of the underlying problem. These differences concern how gender-based violence has been politicised in each country, varying degrees to which the women’s movement was involved in these reforms and the ideological orientation of the governments initiating reform. In the midst of these recent and ongoing reforms, the urgent questions to be addressed include:

  1. What are the recent and impending legal reforms concerning sexual gender-based violence in Europe?
  2. How do lawmakers frame the problem they are trying to address?
  3. What are the concrete effects of this legislative innovation in different European countries?
  4. Why is there a new gender-based violence regulation in Europe?
  5. Why are there similarities and differences in content, framing and the effects of legal reform?

The primary objective of this workshop is to facilitate academic discussion regarding the recent developments in sexual violence legislation in Europe from various disciplines, including sociology, political sciences, anthropology and law. The workshop will also include a stakeholder meeting about the recent Dutch sexual violence law reform and related policies. It aims to share findings with practical experts and gain insights from them as well.


Thursday 13 June 2024


Welcome coffee & lunch


Paper workshops (1) (invitation only)


Stakeholder meeting


Drinks reception


Dinner workshop (invitation only)


Friday 14 June 2024


Paper workshops (2) & lunch

If you would like to participate in some elements of the workshop, send a message to h.horii@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Organisers and Committee Members
Hoko Horii (Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society (VVI), Leiden Law School, the Netherlands)
Annelien Bouland (Social Sciences Department, Universidad Carlos III Madrid)
Mischa Dekker (Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium)

Supported by
Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society
European Commission – HORIZON MSCA

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