From January to October 2016, at least 102 UK women were killed by men. According to the Counting Dead Women project, this is one woman every three days.
On Friday, 16 December, our representatives will have the opportunity to show us just how much they care about ending the constant threat of violence that confronts 50% of the population. On Friday, members of parliament have a choice; to ratify the Istanbul Convention, or explain to their constituents where ending violence against women falls in their list of priorities.
The Istanbul Convention is a persuasive, comprehensive piece of international legislation asking global policy makers to put ending violence against women into action as a matter of urgency. Considered by UN Women to be the ‘gold standard’ for tackling violence against women, a vote on Friday 16 December on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention presents our representatives with an opportunity to finally secure a globally recognised approach to ending violent sexism. With three clear, core strands— prevention, protection and prosecution— the Istanbul Convention is marked out as legislation which demands a world in which violence against women and girls is not only not tolerated or managed, but eradicated.
First signed in 2012, the Istanbul Convention now awaits ratification which will prove a vital step in holding the UK government to account on providing an approved minimum standard of services, support and training to combat violent sexism. And whilst the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations rage on within political discourse, the very real threat to women’s services outlined by the Fabian Women’s Rights Charter of 2016, crystallises the immediate need for a material, legal framework and policy apparatus which protects the most vulnerable of people within British society.
As ever. it has taken the efforts of a broad coalition of activists led by from IC Change to maintain pressure on MPs in advance of the vote. The Fabian Women’s Network proudly joined numerous other third sector organisations in supporting IC Change’s campaigning activity during this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence and are pleased to have been able to play our part in encouraging Fabian MPs to attend the Second Reading of the Istanbul Convention Private Member’s Bill.
What steps can you take to help make Istanbul Convention ratification a reality?
Should you wish to join a group of passionate Change Herstory campaigners from IC Change to hold MPs and the Government to account during the bill’s Second Reading on Friday 16 December 2016 by watching from the House of Commons gallery between 9am-2pm, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, do also consider signing the Fabian Women’s Rights Charter online petition, which calls on the Government to commit to uphold a set of VAWG specific pledges designed to protect survivors of violence against women and girls and to safeguard funding for programmes addressing VAWG once we leave the EU.
Authored by Priscilla Mensah, Fabian Women’s Network Mentee