The law (including international law) is an indication of how governments treat their societies. The Istanbul Conventionaims firstly at preventing violence against women, then protecting any victims and prosecuting the perpetrators. This is essential in a world where, according to the United Nations, at least 1 woman in 3 will suffer some form of violence in her lifetime.

Rule of law is the bedrock of a decent society. That is why Equality Now advocates for strong legal frameworks which protect and promote the rights of women and girls. Without such frameworks, women have no recourse if their rights are abused. With such frameworks, a signal is also sent about how we view and treat each other. The Istanbul Convention recognises the structural nature of violence against women and aspires to create a Europe free from such violence and discrimination.

Crucially, it also provides for support for those who have experienced violence. The UN has hailed the Convention as “gold standard”, an inspiration then for others to replicate. The UK government has signed the Istanbul Convention. It must now ratify it without delay.