[Brussels, 22 July 2014] With the recent ratification by Sweden (1/7/2014) and France (4/7/2014), theCouncil of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
(known as the Istanbul Convention) will entry into force on the 1rst of August in 13 countries of the Council of Europe, from which 7 countries of the EU (Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden).
The Istanbul Convention is based on the understanding that violence against women is a form of gender-based violence that is committed against women because they are women. The convention will make fighting violence against women a “legally binding obligation,” compelling countries to change laws, introduce practical measures and allocate resources to the effort.
This is an historical step for women in Europe, who are in danger in at home and from the men they know. The FRA survey study reveals, the wide and extremely high prevalence of violence against women across Europe: one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 and 22 % of women have experienced physical or sexual violence and 43% psychological abuse by a partner/former partner; one in five women has experienced stalking; every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment (55% of women in Europe) .
The EWL hope the disturbing figures will act as an embarrassing wakeup call for the political and economic leaders of the European Union and encourage all the European states that have not done it yet, to sign, ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention.