Yesterday (Wednesday 8 June) I joined 56 MPs and peers at a Parliamentary Photocall to call on the Government to make the Istanbul Convention on violence against women law without exceptions. The Convention is a gold standard legal framework to tackle violence against women and girls, and a lifeline to survivors.
On 17 May 2022, the UK Government announced they plan to ratify the Convention. This comes ten years after the UK signed the Convention on 8 June 2012 and many years of campaigning. However, the Government plans to ‘opt out’ of key parts of the Convention that provide life-saving support and protections, particularly for migrant women. This reinforces the power of the perpetrators and increases the risk faced by migrant survivors.
Over 57 MPs and peers urged the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention and opt in to providing support for migrant women.The event was run by IC Change and supporting organisations, including the Women’s Institute, Southall Black Sisters, End Violence Against Women Coalition the Latin Amertican Service for Women’s Rights (LAWRS), Safety4Sisters, Solace Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis.
Violence against women and girls is devastatingly high across the UK. Over the last decade, over 1220 women were killed by men – and this is only the tip of the iceberg. The number of police recorded domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales rose by 6% in the year ending March 2021, to 845,734. ONS crime figures for the 12-month period ending in September 2021 show that sexual offences recorded by the police were the highest on record, at 170,973 offences.
The statistics and stories show that we still have a long way to go and we need action to change this. Ratification of the Istanbul Convention is something I have campaigned on for many years – and have received hundreds of emails about from Cardiff Central constituents in my time as your Member of Parliament.