Entry into force of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

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Strasbourg, France, 1 August 2014 – With the entry into force of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence of the Council of Europe, on 1 August 2014, the European Union takes a leading role to protect women’s rights around the world.

Adopted in Istanbul (Turkey) by the 47 member states of the European Council in May 2011, the convention is the first European treaty that targets specifically violence against women and domestic violence. Open for signature since then, the text has been ratified by 14 states and signed by another 22, among which France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, but not yet Germany and the United Kingdom.

The convention obliges governments that have ratified it to take specific steps to counter all forms of violence against women: from stalking and sexual harassment to domestic violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

The Council of Europe declared that, “By offering a comprehensive framework that is legally binding, the convention will boost measures of prevention and protection and should lead to an increase in investigations, prosecutions and convictions of perpetrators of violence.”

Non governmental organisations, governments and civil society will celebrate its entry into force on 19 September in Rome at an international conference being organised by the Council of Europe and the Italian ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian Chamber of Deputies.

According to an EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report, one in three women (33 per cent or 62 million women) across the 28 EU member states has suffered physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 in the 12 months prior to the survey.