Today’s been called the most important political event for women in 2016, but why?
Parliament has its second debate on the Istanbul Convention.
It’s a name that doesn’t give away much and it’s easy to miss why this is so important to us in England.
But, the Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive Pan-Europe legal framework that exists to prevent violence against women and girls. The British Government signed up to it in 2012, but are yet to make it law. Although we’ve seen some changes as a result, progress is slow.
Women affected by abuse and those working in the sector will know the challenges all too well. The postcode lotteries, support being often restricted to a specific eligibility criteria or cut too short, and the ongoing funding cuts and lack of local and national prioritisation.
Sadly we’re lagging behind many other countries in Europe, who have already legally committed to the Convention, including:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.
The Convention provides a basis to prevent and protect women and girls and to prosecute offenders. By making it law we will ensure that the priority of this work is increased and that unprecedented support is given to women and girls who need it.
Whilst there are a number of stages to go through before it becomes law, the second debate in Parliament on 16th December is an important step. It needs 100 MPs to vote in favour in order for the bill to pass. On a day when many MPs tend to stay in local constituencies, this may not be an easy task.
This is an opportunity to change history. But it needs awareness and support. Why not ask your local MP how they’re voting and their stance on the bill?
If you want to learn more about the Convention there’s some useful information on these websites:
And some interesting articles on today’s debate: