EWL News

Council of Europe finalises first European Convention on Violence against Women!

[Brussels, 28 January 2011] At its 9th and last meeting held in Strasbourg between 18 and 21 January 2011, the Ad Hoc Committee on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CAHVIO) has finalised the text of the Convention of the Council of Europe on violence against women (VAW), and the Explanatory Memorandum.

The draft Convention had been transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, who in turn transmitted it to the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) for its opinion. It is foreseen that the PACE would adopt the text in March and the Convention would be signed by the Committee of Ministers in May.

The EWL has been following the drafting of the Convention from its beginnings in April 2009 to these final stages, and has actively called for the gender dimension of violence against women to be recognised (See EWL Lobbying Kit). Many EWL members have undertaken specific action at national level towards their government representatives, to explain the importance of such a Convention for the protection and better support of women against male violence.

It was important to counterbalance the definition of domestic violence as gender-neutral which was promoted by a significant number of national delegations, covering all forms of violence within the family. The inclusion of family members threatened the ability of the Convention to address the root causes of violence against women in all member states. A compromise was finally reached, defining the scope of the Convention as applying to ‘all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, which affects women disproportionately’ and encouraging Parties to apply the Convention to all victims of domestic violence, while paying ‘particular attention to women victims of gender-based violence in implementing the provisions of this Convention’ (Article 2).

Today, the draft Convention represents the first European binding text to focus on all forms of violence against women! The EWL is calling on the EU to become a party to the Convention as this would represent a first step to action by the European Union on male violence against women.

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