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17 December 2015

Istanbul Convention

Istanbul Convention

It's estimated that globally one in three women are affected by domestic and sexual abuse. Baroness Scotland said that: "If this was a disease, there would a massive outcry and response". In the UK an average of two women are killed each week by their partner or former partner.

We need to act.

The Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls. In May 2014, the Convention was adopted in Istanbul by all 47 Council of Europe Member States. It is the first European treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence.

UN Women calls it the gold standard for tackling violence against women and girls. The Convention sets out practical steps for governments to take to prevent violence, protect women experiencing violence and prosecute perpetrators. Countries ratifying the treaty are obligated to protect and support victims of such violence. They must also establish services such as hotlines, shelters, medical services, counselling and legal aid.

While the British Government signed up to the Convention they have failed to put in place that which was agreed. They say this is because they are still assessing whether the country's laws are compliant with the Convention.

While the government mulls this over, women continue face physical, sexual and physiological violence every day. UN Women estimates that in the EU a little over one in five women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner. An estimated 500,000 women and girls in the EU have suffered from female genital mutilation (FGM). The National Crime Agency recently reported that number of British trafficking victims has doubled in the past year – most would be women.

We can't afford to wait. The government has a responsibility to take action. 

The Evangelical Alliance is proud to support the ICchange Campaign calling on the government to fully support and acknowledge the Istanbul Convention.

The Alliance strongly believes in protecting the human rights of all people, and so ending violence against women must be a priority. We want to see all women living free, safe, flourishing lives without fear of violence. The Istanbul Convention is an effective and clear way to ensure women are receiving the protection and support they deserve.

Ratifying the Convention will mean a lasting national commitment to tackling violence against women and an increase in women's safety in the UK. Many other countries have already done this putting a stake in the sand and committing to making sure women and girls are guaranteed the right live lives from violence and the fear of violence.

We strongly urge the government to uphold their promise of working towards ending violence against women. The implementation of the Istanbul Convention would be an important step towards this.

You can read more about the ICchange Campaign here.


  Image credit- 'UN women' under creative commons license.