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European Commission proposes EU accession to international Convention to fight violence against women

Convention will be discussed in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament

The European Commission has proposed for the European Union to ratify the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention, a comprehensive international treaty on combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said:

"Our proposal sends a clear message: victims of violence against women must be better protected across Europe. One in three women in the EU has experienced physical or sexual violence, or both. More than half of all women have experienced sexual harassment after the age of 15. These figures are unacceptable and this goes against our values. Today's proposal for the EU to ratify the Istanbul Convention is a step forward both for our fight against violence and in guaranteeing gender equality. To ensure coherent implementation at all levels, I also call on those Member States who have not yet ratified the Convention to do so swiftly."

The Istanbul Convention requires its parties to improve the protection of victims of violence and ensure prosecution of offenders, in the following respects: 

The European Commission is proposing that the European Union accedes to the Convention within its competences and alongside the Member States. EU accession to the Convention will bring among others the following additional benefits: 

The Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe is the most comprehensive international treaty on combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention has been presented in 2011 and entered into force in August 2014.

The Istanbul Convention recognises violence against women as a human rights violation. It addresses violence against women through measures aimed at preventing violence, protecting victims, and prosecuting the perpetrators.

The proposal to accede to the Istanbul Convention will be discussed in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament, whose consent is needed for the conclusion of the Convention by the EU.

Twelve Member States (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) have already ratified the Convention. A further 13 Member States have signed it but not yet ratified. More signatures and ratifications are expected over the coming months.

The Convention is here. A factsheet concerning it is here.

6/3/16