MEPs call for zero tolerance for violence against women 

Press Releases 
Plenary session 

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.

Members of the European Parliament welcome the signing of the EU accession of the Istanbul Convention on 13 June 2017 in the interim report adopted on Tuesday by 489 votes to 114 and 69 abstentions. They make the following call for action:

  • 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;
  • 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  and shifting  the guilt from victims to perpetrators;
  • ask the Commission to initiate, without delay or postponement, a constructive dialogue with the Council and Member States, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, so as to address reservations, objections and concerns expressed by Member States
  • to 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. MEPs call on Member States to adopt measures to address new forms gender based violence on the internet and on social media, 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 provide a coherent European legal framework to prevent and combat violence against women and will bring better monitoring, interpretation and implementation of EU laws, programmes, funds and better data collection. 

Next steps

The Convention was signed by the EU in June 2017. The next step – formal EU accession to the Convention – requires adoption of a Council decision following the consent of the European Parliament.

The Commission and the Council of ministers are negotiating at this stage the code of conduct to agree on EU and national competencies.


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.

The Istanbul Convention is a mixed agreement that allows for accession by the EU in parallel to accession by its Member States.

All Member States have signed the Istanbul Convention, but only 14 have ratified it (AT, BE, DK, FI, FR, IT, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SI, ES, SE).

European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) estimates that the cost to society from sexual-based violence in the EU is EUR 226 billion yearly.