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Government publishes report showing progress under Istanbul Convention

The Home Office has published its fifth report showing the UK's progress toward ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence ("the Istanbul Convention").

The government signed the Istanbul Convention in 2012 to reaffirm the UK's commitment to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG). The Convention consists of 81 articles aimed at tackling VAWG which focus on prevention, protection of victims, prosecution, and integrated policies.

The report notes that on 29 April 2021 landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 was passed, including necessary legislative measures on extraterritorial jurisdiction for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as required by Article 44. The Act came into force on 29 June 2021.

On 21 July 2021 the Government published a new cross-Government Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy to help ensure that women and girls are safe everywhere – at home, online and on the streets. The VAWG Strategy sets out our approach to tackling VAWG, such as 'honour'-based abuse, stalking and sexual violence, as well as online forms of violence against women and girls. It sets out that priority will be given to prevention, supporting survivors, pursuing  perpetrators and creating a stronger system.

The strategy commits to a number of actions which include:

• the introduction of a new full-time National Policing Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls to take the lead for this area nationally

• a national communications campaign with a focus on targeting perpetrators and harmful misogynistic attitudes, educating young people about healthy relationships and ensuring victims can access support

• working to criminalise virginity testing, to send a clear message that this practice is wholly unacceptable in our society

• introducing a £5 million 'Safety of Women at Night' fund, in addition to the £25 million Safer Streets Fund, focused on the prevention of violence against women and girls in public spaces at night, including in the night-time economy

• appointing a Transport Champion to make public transport safer for women and girls

• piloting a tool, StreetSafe, which enables the public to anonymously report areas where they feel unsafe and identify what it was about the location which made them feel this way. The data will be used to inform local decision-making

• better supporting teachers to deliver the recently introduced Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum

• providing funding to invest in high quality, evidence-informed prevention projects, including in schools, to ascertain what works to tackle violence against women and girls

• providing an additional £1.5 million this year for specialist support services and to increase our funding for helplines, such as the Revenge Porn Helpline.

For the report, click here.