PRESS RELEASE: Women’s march


For Immediate release

  • IC Change join thousands of women marching in London in solidarity against hateful and divisive rhetoric – and to amplify the voices of marginalised groups.
  • 133 cross-party MPs voted the life-saving bill to end violence against women through to the committee stage in December
  • Emma Watson was among the names who joined calls from prominent individuals and organisations for ratification of the Istanbul Convention – the ‘gold standard’ of legislation to protect women from gender-based violence

IC Change, a volunteer campaign led by survivors of gender-based violence and service workers, will be among millions of women taking to the streets to protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump tomorrow.

The group will join hundreds of like-minded feminist organisations on the Women’s March in London.

Co-director Rebecca Bunce of IC Change said: “Today is a powerful show of solidarity with women across the world. We join with them to protest hateful and divisive rhetoric, and demonstrate our support of all those impacted by these insidious messages. We march to say violence against women – in any form – is never acceptable.

“Today is a symbol of our wider, diverse movement – and how we can come together to create change. We are proud to march alongside many of the brilliant organisations and individuals that work tirelessly every day to ensure that all are treated with dignity and respect. Beyond the march, we will continue to work with our supporters – including Women’s Aid, Sisters of Frida, Southall Black Sisters and the Women’s Equality Party – to #ChangeHerstory with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on violence against women.”

On 16th December 2016, MPs voted in favour of ratifying the Istanbul Convention – one of the most significant laws tackling violence against women and girls in British political history. The Bill now passes through to committee stage.

This legislation is needed because, on average, two women in England and Wales are killed every week by a current or former male partner and at least one in five women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.[1]

The UK Government signed a commitment to seeing it through four years ago, but the government have so far failed to honour their promise.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP put forward this bill, preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (ratification of Convention) 2016-17.

The Bill, which has cross party support, would require the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women and legally commit themselves to providing enough funding for shelters, rape crisis centres, helplines, education in schools on healthy relationships, and training for professionals.

Emma Watson added her voice to constituents, local and national organisations to rally MPs to support this bill. The #ChangeHerstory campaign has placed the Istanbul Convention firmly at the top of agenda. However, there is now a need to ensure that a firm timeline for ratification is established.

In order to keep up the pressure and ensure this remains a priority for the government you can sign the petition.

This bill has backing from women’s organisations across the country including all federations of Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis, and Southall Black Sisters.

Notes for Editors

For more information please contact: or visit For more information visit

  • 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.
  • Statistic reference: Office for National Statistics (2015), ‘Violent Crime and Sexual Offences – Intimate Personal Violence and Serious Sexual Assault’, Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2013/14, Chapter 4.
  • The IC Change campaign is a grassroots, volunteer led campaign for securing ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

[1] Office of National Statitics (2016),Compendium: Chapter 2 Homicide, available online

UK Faith leaders call for Istanbul Convention


          UK faith leaders launch call for UK Government to take critical action on violence against women

Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu faith leaders gathered in the House of Lords to launch a joint call for UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women – and for MPs to support the Istanbul Convention Private Member’s Bill (PMB) by voting for it on 16 December.

The gathering, hosted by Lord McColl and organised by the IC Change campaign for the UK’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention, Restored and Faith Action, builds on faith leaders’ declaration against domestic abuse launched in 2015.

This call from faith leaders comes when on average two women in England and Wales are killed every week by a current or former male partner and 85,000 women are raped and more than 400,000 sexually assaulted each year.

Violence against women and girls takes many forms and is widespread in the UK. The Convention – aptly described as ‘the best thing you’ve never heard of’ – is a set of life-saving minimum standards on tackling violence against women for a State’s response to the epidemic.

If the UK Government ratified the Istanbul Convention, it would bring unprecedented positive change for women and girls – protecting and supporting women experiencing violence, prosecuting those responsible, and preventing it from happening in the first place by tackling its root causes. In practical terms, It would protect funding for domestic violence services like shelters, rape crisis centres and ensure education on healthy relationships in schools.

The Government promised to make the Convention law over four and a half years ago and it still has not happened.

That’s why faith leaders have united to call on the UK Government to demonstrate its commitment to ending violence against women by making the Istanbul Convention UK law.

More immediately, faith leaders are calling on MPs to attend a debate on 16 December on a life-saving bill for women that would require the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention – and to vote in its favour. And they are asking people across the UK to write to their MPs to ask them to do this. Please find details below on how you can get involved!

Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, says: ‘Violence against women is an injustice and a violation against the dignity of human beings made in the image of God that the Church must speak out on. The Istanbul Convention provides a strong, practical framework to help us tackle the issue comprehensively in a way that has never been done before’.

‘As faith leaders it is our duty to combat the menace of domestic abuse in our society. We must show unity to call our leaders to do whatever it takes to protect the most vulnerable people in the society,’ Muhammed Al-Hasan, Imams against Domestic Abuse.

On 16 December we have a rare opportunity to change the individual stories of women and girls across the UK who face violence every day and secure this vital protection from violence for them.

Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, adds: ‘We urgently need a stronger framework in which to combat such evils, to make people more aware, to enable us to combat it, to prosecute the perpetrators and prevent its recurrence. This is exactly what the Convention provides’

Faith leaders are calling on people to support this bill by writing to their MP and asking them to go to the debate and vote for the bill.

So what can you do to get involved?

We need to make sure that 100 MPs turn up to Parliament to support it so that it can pass on to the next stage.

However, the 16th December is on a Friday morning – a time when many MPs would normally be in their local constituencies. That’s why we need your help to it’s essential for to contact your MP and to tell them why it’s so important for them show up and support the Bill.

Please write to your MP or arrange to meet them to ask them to attend the debate on 16 December and vote in favour of the Istanbul Convention bill.

You can find all the resources you need here on the IC Change website, including a template letter to help you write to your MP and top tips for meeting your MP. Let IC Change know at if your MP says yes.

@ICchangeUK I #ChangeHerstory #IstanbulConvention I

Photo Credit: KE Januszek Photography

Welsh Women’s Aid back IC Change!

We are thrWelsh Women's Aid logoilled to announce that Welsh Women’s Aid are backing the IC Change campaign. We are delighted to have their support and really looking forward to working with them to campaign for the Istanbul Convention on violence against women. Hear from them why they are supporting us:

‘In Wales, over 47,000 incidents on domestic abuse were reported to the police in 2014/15 and an estimated 11% women in Wales experience domestic abuse every year – and this doesn’t begin to cover the thousands upon thousands of women who felt too scared to report or to pick up the phone to ask for help. Whilst the Welsh Government has introduced a range of measures designed to prevent abuse and protect and support victims, we know that far too many women are still not always able to get the help they need, when they need it. We also know that specialist services up and down the country face a difficult future amid insecure or unsustainable funding decisions.

We want to make sure that no woman or child is turned away from accessing critical support services delivered by refuges, rape support centres, and specialist support for Black and minority women. These services in Wales provide safety and support with housing, health, and legal matters, alongside help to recover from abuse and to achieve independence. Without them, women who experience abuse – be it physical, sexual, psychological or financial – would have nowhere to turn for help when they need it the most. That is why we are calling on the Welsh and UK Governments to support our demand to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which would increase the protection of women fleeing violence, and the services that support them.’

Read their full statement on our supporting organisations page.

Cross party MPs and Peers say ‘Ratify the Istanbul Convention!’


Photo credits: KE Januszek Photography

Today, Wednesday 13 July 2016, was a momentous day for women across the UK as 40 MPs and Peers from across the different parties took part in the IC Change parliamentary lobby event to show their support for urgent ratification of the Istanbul Convention – so that women and girls in the UK can live free from violence.

IC Change have been campaigning for the Government to bring our laws in line with this ground-breaking piece of legislation since 2014. We have built strong networks across the women’s sector and beyond. We have engaged with parliamentarians. We have even sent a motivational mix tape and a giant birthday card to the Home Secretary (hoping Theresa May will remember this…).

As our networks and support grows, we continue to do everything within our power to ensure that the UK Government takes this vital step to protect women and girls and ensures a society in which they can live free from fear and violence.

With all it has to offer it is not surprising that support is growing for this essential law which will prevent violence, protect victims, prosecute perpetrators, and facilitate co-ordinated working and monitoring.

Main blog photo finalAt today’s event we brought together the voices of leaders and experts from across the sector with MPs and Peers. We are united by a desire to ensure that ratification of the Istanbul Convention is made a priority by the government. Whilst the timing was a coincidence, these calls were made all the more important with the arrival of a new Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary – Amber Rudd.

To date we have seen parliamentarians call for this to be done through asking Parliamentary questions, writing to Ministers, hosting Roundtable events, and taking part in Early Day Motions in March and in June, which have received significant support from across the aisles. This cross party working has been commendable and we must thank in particular Gavin Newlands MP, Jess Phillips MP, Maria Miller MP and Tom Brake MP for co-hosting today’s event. Today we were able to thank parliamentarians for their work in ensuring that the government take this important step in helping to end violence against women.

We all have a role to play in reaching out to MPs and Peers as Hilary Fisher (Director of Policy, Research & Campaigns, at Women’s Aid England) highlighted:

“We really need to ratify the convention to protect our domestic abuse services, so tell your MP and tell our new Prime Minister.”

Marsha Scott (CEO, Women’s Aid Scotland) added:

“It is time to end the arguing, the party politics, the official obsessing about elements that will be difficult. Just ratify.”

Both called on everyone get behind the IC Change campaign to raise the voices of individuals and organisations across the UK calling for ratification.

The support of parliament is all the more important following a recent, exciting development to the IC Change campaign. Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP tabling a Private Member’s Bill on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. This will require the support of 100 MPs on the 16th December 2016. No small feat. But we must grasp this opportunity to help end violence against women.


To keep up to date with the campaign and hear about the next steps sign the petition, follow us on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook.


It’s within reach…

Hand in

Today we braved the British weather to deliver a birthday card we hope the Government won’t forget in a hurry.

The 8th of June 2016 marks four years since the Istanbul Convention (IC) was signed and the UK Government made a real commitment to tackling violence against women.

Since signing the Istanbul Convention, the Government has started to improve UK laws on violence against women to bring it up to the standards of the Convention. We have seen new legislation on forced marriage, coercive control and female genital mutilation (FGM).

These laws have made women safer. However, millions still face a life of threats and violence everyday. As time passes it can be easy to forget that each moment we wait for the the Istanbul Convention to be made law means more women and girls go without the vital protections that it offers.

The longer we wait for the Government to deliver on what it promised, the more lives are at risk and tragically lost. It’s that simple.

We wanted to deliver that message to the Government and so did our supporters. So we decided to send them a four foot tall birthday card to mark the four year anniversary of the UK signing the Istanbul Convention.

Over 230 people joined us and signed the card asking the Government to finish the job it started and ratify the Istanbul Convention.

We have had messages of support from Women’s Aid, Scottish Women’s Aid, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Everyday Sexism, Restored, White Ribbon and many more.

Everyone who signed the card realises that we don’t have an indefinite amount of time to ensure women and girls get the safety they are entitled to. Now it’s time for the Government to realise this and take action.

Two campaigners with four four card at the entrance to the Home OfficeAt IC Change, we are a grassroots campaign run by volunteers. We dedicated the last few weeks of our lives to working with friends to design, make and sign the card, all whilst planning an upcoming Istanbul Convention Parliamentary lobby, completing our studies, and holding down our jobs.

One of the main jobs of the Government is to keep its people safe and right now, that’s not happening.

But we dedicate our time because we know that the freedom and safety that the IC offers is within reach. Fully ratifying the IC is vital if we want to make sure women have lives free from violence and fear.

It is this belief that has us up early, dedicating our lunch breaks and spending our evenings making sure this story is shared far and wide. Today, it saw us walking in the pouring rain to deliver our card to the Home Office.

It’s this belief, and the support we know this has, that means that we won’t give up asking the Government finish the job they started and ratify the Istanbul Convention.

Fantastic faith-based organisation Restored is backing the IC Change campaign!


It’s a bright start to our bank holiday weekend as we publish our glowing statement of support from the fantastic faith-based organisation Restored, who are working to transform relationships and end violence against women by working through and with the church and Christians worldwide.

Here’s why they’re supporting the IC Change for the Istanbul Convention:

‘Restored is pleased and proud to join IC Change in calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The Istanbul Convention provides a positive framework for action on prevention, protection and prosecution of violence against women and girls. It helps protect and support survivors of abuse.

Restored aims to transform relationships and end violence against women, working with and through the church. Challenging and changing the silence, shame and stigma around abuse are important steps yet this must be done in conjunction with the provision of funded, effective services to support survivors of abuse.

We strongly urge the UK government to fulfill its promise and to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The time to act is now’

First ever IC Change pub quiz fundraiser

pub quiz banner

On Tuesday 10th May, IC Change hosted our first IC Change fundraiser! 45 friends and supporters joined us for a pub quiz to raise money for the campaign. Thanks to everyone’s generous support we raised £260 which will help us take the campaign to the next level. Thank you to everyone who donated!

True to the theme of the evening, guests were given a feminism round with some great questions on achievements of women who have laid the path for this generation’s feminist movement.

We hope to have another quiz in a few months time to bring together all the campaign’s lovely supporters and raise some more funds – so watch this space! If you’re interested in future events please follow us and get in touch on Twitter at @ICChangeUK.

How many time have you heard ‘But what about the men…?’?

Luke martin

Although the IC Change campaigners are a diverse group (which includes men), we are very regularly asked ‘but what about the men?’ This isn’t a question unique to our campaign, those working across the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector will not be surprised to hear this question on a regular basis.

So following International Women’s Day (sometimes cheekily referred to as International ‘What about the men?’ day) we asked this question to a key ally, Luke Martin, a Specialist Domestic Abuse Consultant focusing on work with male victims and LGBT*.


Here is what he had to say:

As a man working in the Violence Against Women and Girls sector, a question that I never hear directed at me is: “what about the men?”.

My female colleagues get it quite a lot – I’m sometimes the person asking – but other professionals rarely ask me what I’m doing for ‘the men’.

It’s fair to say I’ve done my stint supporting male victims, including seven years working as a Male Independent Domestic Violence Advisor where I dealt with thousands of cases. Read more

Million Women Rise

MWR IC Change

This Saturday we were proud to take part in Million Women Rise, an international march of women and girls against male violence.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we joined together with women from across the UK and across the world to take a stand against male violence towards women and say: ‘Enough is enough. This must change.’

As IC Change, we did not only go to draw attention to the issue of violence against women in the UK, how it is affecting us, our friends, our families and our communities. We also went to highlight a key part of the solution, which is within reach: the Istanbul Convention.  Read more