The EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention will provide a coherent European legal framework to prevent and combat violence against women and gender-based violence.

Women’s rights and Civil liberties MEPs welcome the signing of the EU accession of the Istanbul Convention on 13 June 2017  and make following recommendations:

  • urge Member States to speed up negotiations on the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention;
  • EP should be fully engaged in the monitoring process of the Istanbul Convention following the EU’s accession;
  • Member States should allocate adequate financial and human resources to prevent and combat violence against women and gender-based violence;
  • victims should be compensated, in particular those living in areas where the protection services to the victims do not exist or they are very limited;
  • appropriate training, procedures and guidelines for all professionals dealing with the victims of all acts of violence should be available;
  • promote a change in attitudes and behaviours;
  • combat sexism and stereotyped gender roles - promoting gender-neutral language and address the key role of media and advertising;

 

The denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, is a form of violence against women and girls, says the text. MEPs reiterate that women and girls must have control over their bodies.

 

The Istanbul Convention ensures that culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” cannot be a justification of any acts of violence against women. Committee MEPs call on Member States to adopt measures to address new forms of crime, including sex-extortion, grooming, voyeurism and revenge pornography, and protect victims, who experience serious trauma leading sometimes even to suicide.

Finally, MEPs stress that the EU’s accession will bring better monitoring, interpretation and implementation of EU laws, programmes, funds and better data collection.

 

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"Violence against women is too often seen as a private issue and too often tolerated. It is a serious crime and it must be punished as such. Too many women and girls are still harassed, abused and raped in Europe, in public places, at home and now even on the social media, where persecution is affecting an entire generation of young women. With our report today we give the voice to many women and girls to break the vicious circle of silence and fear and shift the guilt from victims to perpetrators. We send a strong message to the Member States to take their responsibility and proceed with the ratification and the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. Time has come to move from words to action", said co-rapporteur Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SV).

 

"The LIBE and FEMM committees have made a decisive step forward to protect the fundamental right of women to live free from violence wherever they are in Europe. The EU accession will provide a coherent legal framework to combat violence against women from prevention to support for all victims. Time is running out, considering that one third of all women in Europe have experienced physical or sexual acts of violence. Once again, I strongly urge Member states which have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention, to do so as quickly as possible. The EU accession does not exonerate them from national ratification and we need to join forces to eradicate violence against women, once and for all", added co- rapporteur Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy (S&D, FR).

 

The interim report was adopted on Tuesday by 58 votes to 12 with 4 abstentions.

 

Quick facts

The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive international treaty on combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011 and entered into force in August 2014.