On the 24th February 2017, I spoke in the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill debate.
I would firstly like to congratulate Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, on making such progress with this important and very necessary Bill. As Dr Whiteford stated: “Women may have secured equality before the law—de jure equality—but we are nowhere near achieving de facto equality, or equality in practice.”
The Istanbul Convention can provide a clear legal framework on women’s rights for other countries to adopt and therefore is vital in tackling violence against women and girls. The Bill also includes provisions for men, trans and non-binary people regardless of any other characteristic. I am proud of the then Labour Government for playing a significant role in the drafting of the Convention, which began in 2008.
Today, women still face a significant amount of inequality, with one in four women experiencing some form of domestic, sexual or psychological abuse during their lifetime and domestic abuse remains at endemic levels in the UK, with 20% of children in the UK have being exposed to domestic abuse.
I believe by ratifying this convention, it is a vital step forward in preventing and combating gender-based violence.
Finally, I want to pay special attention to all the brave woman who have faced any form of violence who shared their stories and experiences.