Last week Jeremy Corbyn asked David Cameron a question that ICChange’s Georgie Laming has been asking all year: when is the UK going to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women?
I didn’t imagine that the Istanbul Convention would be a phrase on the lips of politicians last week. With the row over tax credits dominating the news, I was pretty sure we weren’t going to be talking about domestic violence.
And then, out of the blue, Jeremy Corbyn asked David Cameron a simple question, one that as campaigners at ICChange, we’ve been asking all year: “In 2012, the Prime Minister’s government signed the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence; this would make women’s support services statutory and would have stopped the closure of [domestic violence charity] Eaves. Can the Prime Minister please tell the House when he will ratify the Istanbul Convention?”
Unsurprisingly, David Cameron didn’t announce that he would be ratifying the Istanbul Convention this year.
Instead, in the face of rising pressure from campaigners we heard that the tax on tampons was going to be redirected to women’s services, telling us that for the luxury of not letting blood pour down our legs, we should pay for the services which protect our human rights and guarantee our safety as a victim of violence. Domestic violence is an issue for the whole of our society and by relegating this to an issue for women akin to periods is deeply upsetting.
Since 2012, the Prime Minister has been dodging the question. He promised ahead of the General Election that the UK would bring the Istanbul Convention into law. Meaning that, overnight, the UK would have a robust framework for tackling sexual and domestic violence against women, from prevention lessons for boys to statutory refuge services.
That’s why we can’t afford to stay quiet.
Call to action:
We’re joining up with all campaigners on violence against women as part of the United Nations’ 16 days of action, which started on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Each day, we will shine a spotlight on the work and impact of a different service or campaign through our blog, each a vital piece of the infrastructure needed to eliminate violence against women and girls – and each piece protected by the Istanbul Convention.
These blogs will bring new, real-life insight into a campaign or service that is tackling violence against women and girls, following 16 organisations to give a snapshot of why we need the Istanbul Convention to deliver the wider infrastructure needed nationwide.
You can follow the links within the case studies to support the organisations’ vital work.
You can also help protect all the services out there in the long term by signing our petition telling the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention now.1915 Views