A “landmark” domestic violence bill is in development the Home Office has announced, in a new report setting out its progress towards ratification of the so-called ‘Istanbul Convention’.
The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence received its more familiar nickname after it was formally launched in the Turkish city in 2011. It had been drafted to encourage international measures protecting women from domestic and other forms of violence and to make the prosecution of perpetrators easier.
The UK signed the Convention the following year, but did not formally ‘ratify’ it – i.e. bring its measures into domestic law. But earlier this year Scottish National Party MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford introduced a bill obliging the government to proceed with ratification.
Her Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act received royal asset in May. This places an obligation on the government to publish an annual report explaining its progress towards ratification.
The new publication is the first of these. It explains that since the Convention was first signed, the UK government has strengthened legislation on domestic violence and made extensive efforts to improve professional guidance and promote best practice in the field.
Much existing legislation on violence towards women already complies with the demands of the Convention and sometimes even exceeds its requirements, the report insists. The proposed Domestic Abuse Bill would “protect and support victims and make sure agencies effectively respond to domestic abuse.”
You can read the report here.