The Austrian Women’s ring organised a very successful event on the 11th December in Vienna. As Austria had already signed, ratified and tabled the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in Strasbourg, the event looked into participation of NGOs in the implementation and monitoring process.
The prerequisites for a platform to follow the implementation and the monitoring process were discussed, as well as the participation of NGOs and of Members of the Austrian Parliament.
The Austrian Member of Parliament Gisela Wurm, who is the leader of the Austrian delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, was the keynote speaker. She informed about the process leading to the convention and pointed out the 4 main pillars: Prevention of Violence, Protection against Violence, Criminal Justice and (international) Monitoring.
In the Round Table Discussion, moderated by the Chair of Frauenring Christa Pölzlbauer, the experts Katharine Beclin, Marion Breiter, Ursula Kussyk and Catharina Grau discussed legal prerequisites to implement the Istanbul Convention, such as changes in the criminal law in particular sentences for perpetrators and the rights of victims. They underlined the need for compulsory awareness building programmes for judges and legal staff, similar to those for the police force. Furthermore the Social services have to be strengthened and adequate funds provided for help-lines and shelters. Legal changes may be necessary in order to provide information to persons dealing with family members of victims, e.g. teachers, medical doctors….
Most important for preventing violence against women is awareness building in all strata of society, the elimination of stereotypes from teaching materials, media and advertising.
Participation of NGOs was discussed as well as a framework to support such participation.