Ratify Istanbul Convention to Help Prevent Violence Against Women


Categories: Inequality, Policing and Justice, Safer Communities, UK Government (Westminster)

Stirling MP Alyn Smith has joined calls for the Prime Minister to stop failing women and girls in the face of violence, by ratifying the Istanbul Convention and scrapping the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The UK signed the Council of Europe’s Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence – the Istanbul Convention – almost 9 years ago but is one of the few EU countries yet to ratify it and is therefore not legally bound by its provisions. The Convention has so far been ratified by thirty-three of the original signatories including the UK’s neighbour Ireland.

Former SNP MP, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, brought forward the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 – an act obligating the UK to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

The SNP will vote against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which imposes disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to protest and have called for it to be withdrawn immediately.

Stirling SNP MP Alyn Smith said:

‘Sarah Everard’s tragic death is a stark reminder of the violence and threats women face on a daily basis. By ratifying the Istanbul Convention, the Prime Minister can take an important step towards preventing violence against women.

‘It should chill us all to the bones as citizens that around half our population consistently feel unsafe on our streets and in our communities. The UK government has the chance to take concrete action here on this important issue, and I urge them to start by ratifying the rights of women as outlined in the Istanbul Convention, and commit to firm action to protect victims of violence and prosecute offenders.’

‘The scenes the world saw on Saturday of peaceful vigils disproportionately policed sends the wrong message about the values I want my society to espouse. The current Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill as proposed vastly curtails freedom of expression and the right to protest, and I urge colleagues across the House to vote down this legislation.’