Istanbul convention

What is the Istanbul Convention?

The Istanbul Convention – (or full name: Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence) - is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls.

The Istanbul Convention sets minimum standards for governments to meet when tackling violence against women. When a government ratifies the Convention, they are legally bound to follow it. So, if the UK Government ratified the Istanbul Convention, they will have to take all necessary steps it sets out to prevent violence, protect women experiencing violence and prosecute perpetrators. The UK Government will also have to ensure that there is sufficient monitoring of violence against women.

Ratifying the Istanbul Convention will mean a lasting national commitment to tackling violence against women and an increase women’s safety in the UK. It is a pragmatic law that does not just sit on paper, but translates into real actions. Ratification of the Istanbul Convention will mean that women and girls in the UK will be guaranteed the right to live lives free from violence and the fear of violence.

UN Women have named the Istanbul Convention ‘a gold standard’ for tackling violence against women. Human Rights Watch have called it ‘ground-breaking’. And it has already won awards for its brilliance.

Some of the countries that have already ratified the Istanbul Convention are: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.

We need to act. And keep acting. The Istanbul Convention helps guarantee that we don’t have vital services disappear, but rather that we have a strong infrastructure of support. This infrastructure will allow women to thrive, rather than fight to survive.

To find out more, please see our FAQs and Resources.