A ground-breaking European treaty on violence against women moved one step closer to entering into legal force, with Andorra becoming the 10th country to ratify it. With this milestone met, the treaty will become binding on August 1, 2014. Countries ratifying the treaty are obligated to protect and support victims of violence.
The treaty, the “Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence” – known informally as the “Istanbul Convention” – is the first European treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence. It sets out minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution, and services. Countries ratifying must also establish services such as hotlines, shelters, medical services, counselling, and legal aid.
One in three women in the European Union has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual assault since the age of 15, according to an EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey. An estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner, or sexual violence by a stranger. The World Health Organization calls this a public health problem of epidemic proportions.
Photo: Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez (R) and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attend a signing ceremony for a convention on preventing violence against women and combating domestic violence during the 121st session of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on May 11, 2011. © 2011 Reuters