UK Parliament supports bill to ratify an international convention on violence against women.

House of Commons

The government signed up to the Istanbul Convention in June 2012 but is yet to formally ratify it.

Banff and Buchan SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford put forward a member’s bill on the subject, and the Scottish Government had also urged the UK to ratify the Council of Europe accord.

The Bill received cross party support, with only two dissenters.  Ministers said they are “committed” to the convention, which states that “it is the obligation of the state to fully address” violence against women “in all its forms”, and to take measures to prevent it, protect its victims and prosecute perpetrators.

However Home Office minister Brandon Lewis also said he would want to amend the bill at a later stage to remove a four-week timetable included, leading to calls for “hard, specific dates” on when action would be taken.

Whiteford said: “Today, Parliament sent out a strong signal to women across the UK that a life without violence is not inevitable and it can be prevented….The Istanbul Convention lays the groundwork for us to do more to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence here in the UK and overseas. It is the best piece of violence against women legislation that has ever been written, anywhere. Obviously today’s vote is only the start of the Parliamentary process, and I’m looking forward to working with MPs across the House for the subsequent stages.”


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