Contact one of our advisors now Call 0800 088 6004

Istanbul Convention – Domestic Violence

On 16th December 2016 there was a parliamentary vote on whether the UK should enshrine a leading international treaty on domestic violence within British law. The Government pledged in 2012 to ratify these domestic violence provisions.
The convention has been described by SNP MP Dr Eiliah Whiteford as “the most comprehensive framework that exists anywhere to tackle violence against women in its many forms and manifestations”.
Many types of domestic violence and sexual abuse are already illegal in the UK.  There has been good progress made in recent years for example with the introduction of Forced Marriage Protection Orders.  However there is concern amongst some that services to women’s refuges and rape crisis helplines have been reduced.
It is considered that the ratification of the convention will secure in law women’s rights to access these services. There are many measures already in place to protect women from violence but it is hoped that the ratification of this convention will do the following:
a. Ensure that 24 hour helplines are made available to women for all forms of violence.
b. Survivors being entitled to psychological support.
c. Education being given in schools on issues such as gender equality.
d. Survivors of domestic violence being entitled to specialist services e.g. refuges and shelters.
The convention has been hailed as the “gold standard” of legislation on gender based violence and deals with such issues as FGM, domestic violence, sexual abuse and child marriage.  The Bill  has cross party support and is also being supported by Emma Watson the actress who is the UN Women Global and Goodwill Ambassador.
MPs voted at the second reading on whether it should pass to the next stage, resulting in a pass by 135 to 2. It is good news that the government took hold of this opportunity to show its support for this international treaty.