Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill

In June 2012 the UK signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence – more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention – but has yet to ratify it.


The Istanbul Convention is a historic international treaty that requires states to take comprehensive action, set out minimum standards and create legally binding measures to tackle and prevent violence against women and girls.


Since 2010, 17% of specialist refuges in England have closed down. The Ratification of the Istanbul Convention into UK law would help to ensure women in the UK have access to vital services and legal protections which they need to live in safety and rebuild their lives.


To date, it has been ratified by 22 European states. The average time taken to ratify the Convention in these countries has been approximately 2 years and 1 month. It is now 4 years and 6 months since the Convention was signed by the UK Government.


I attended Parliament on Friday 16 December 2016 to support the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The Bill has cross-party support, and is backed by organisations across the women’s sector, including Rape Crisis, Women’s Aid, Scottish Women’s Aid, Welsh Women’s Aid, Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland, Southall Black Sisters, FORWARD and Everyday Sexism. The Bill passed with Ayes: 133 Noes: 2.


I urge the Government to set a date to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention.