Violence against women

Calls for UK Government to stop dragging feet on Istanbul convention.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance has pressed the UK Government to bring forward a timetable to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which seeks to prevent and stop violence and domestic abuse against women.


The Convention was signed  by the UK Government in 2012, but is yet to be ratified.


The Cabinet Secretary wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week, during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, urging the UK Government to set out a clear timetable for ratification and to engage with the Scottish Government  in the process.


Ms Constance visited Scottish Women’s Aid this morning to see the National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline in action, ahead of a Parliamentary debate focussing on 16 Days of Activism this afternoon.


She said:


“Violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights and we must do everything we can to stop it.


“That is why the Scottish Government strongly supports the principles and aspirations of the Istanbul Convention.


“We are committed to ending violence against women and girls, and the UK Government must now provide a clear timetable for ratification of that Convention.


“This week I have again written to UK Government asking them to engage on this important issue, so we can take further action together.


“It is time for them to stop dragging their feet. It has been more than four years since the UK Government signed this important convention and two years since it came to force.


“In Scotland we are already investing record levels of funding and bringing forward new legislation to tackle this issue.  We are also implementing Equally Safe, Scotland’s strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls – working with partners to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. 


“However, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention would ensure a focus on the further work necessary to seek to end violence against women and girls once and for all and I sincerely hope that we will receive a positive response from the UK Government.”


Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said:


“The Istanbul Convention is probably the very best piece of violence against women policy that has been written ever, anywhere.


“It’s the culmination of years of hard work and difficult negotiations resulting in an incredible piece of policy, that is often described as the codification of best practice for Government responses to victims and survivors of violence against women. The Istanbul Convention is a blueprint for how we move from small change at the margins, services that are picking up too few people, too late, to a system that is designed to end domestic abuse and violence against women.


“The UK Government has within its grasp the opportunity to make history, we are urging them to seize it.”




16 Days of Activism runs from 25 November – 10 December.


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