Nearly two years ago, the TUC welcomed the news that the Government had finally signed up to the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention (previously known as CAHVIO). Signing up to the Convention was an important step but, without ratifying the Convention, it’s all but meaningless.
The UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (a bit of a mouthful – let’s just call it UNIDEVAW) seems like a fitting day to call on the UK Government to ratify the Convention that they signed almost two years ago. UNIDEVAW has been marked on 25th November since 1981 and was originally organised as commemoration of the assassination of three political activists, the Mirabal sisters, in the Dominican Republic in 1961.
Just to recap, by ratifying the Istanbul Convention the government would be committing to redoubling its efforts in the elimination of violence against women. Compared to some of the countries which have already ratified (naming no names), the UK actually has a pretty good track record on policies to prevent and criminalise violence against women. It takes decades to build up a strong network of refuges and other support and advocacy services but all of that can be swept away in a matter of a few years without political support and funding.