Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has called for cross-party unity to support her Private Members' Bill which will provide a framework to prevent and combat violence against women and girls.
The Bill, Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill 2016-17, will provide domestic legislation in order to allow for the ratification of The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – more commonly known at the Istanbul Convention.
Having appointed an Advisory Committee of experts to discuss the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in domestic legislation, Dr Whiteford has been working with women activists across the UK to garner support for the Bill which will provide the impetus to ratify. Despite signing the convention in 2012, the UK Government has yet to ratify and make the legally binding commitment to the framework which aims to tackle violence against women.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford said: “We have an exciting opportunity with my Private Members’ Bill to finally take the steps for the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention. I’ve been very clear from the outset that this Bill will provide the Parliamentary time in order to make changes to domestic legislation that will lead to ratification.
“The Convention is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls. Not only does it set a minimum standard for the Government’s response to violence against women, but it provides an over-arching strategic policy approach that will bring together all pillars of Government in tackling this systemic human rights abuse.
“The strategic framework of the Convention recognises its structural and societal causes. It will empower partners from across Government, the private sector and civil society to play their part in finding a solution – and today I’m asking for MPs across the House to join with me, women’s organisations across the country, and hundreds of activists to help find that solution together.
“We have a chance on December 16 to take the first steps towards this historic goal, let’s end violence against women – together.”