EWLA President calls for EU Accession to the Istanbul Convention at ERA talk


EWLA President, Professor Jackie Jones, gave a speech as part of the gender equality seminar series, at the European Rights Academy on 5 December 2016, calling for the accession of the EU to the Istanbul Convention.

According to a survey by the Fundamental Rights Agency published in 2014 & EU fact sheet:

1.1 in 3 women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15;
2.1 in 20 women has been raped;
3.75 % of women in qualified professions or top management have been victims of sexual harassment; and
4.1 in ten women has experienced stalking or sexual harassment through new technologies.
5.Over half (55%) of women have experienced sexual harassment;
6.One in three women has experienced psychological abusive behaviour by a partner;
7.One in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an adult during childhood. 

The European Institute for Gender Equality's report on gender-based violence against women makes clear that the costs to the EU is approximately 226 billion euros per year. If we reduced violence by only 10%, approximately EUR 7 billion would be saved each year. That would provide a significant cost saving to Member States, enabling them to employ the savings to cutting the prevalence of violence. 

The Istanbul Convention is made up of:
•Chapter I - Purposes, definitions, equality and non-discrimination, general obligations
•Chapter II – Integrated policies and date collection
•Chapter III – Prevention
•Chapter IV – Protection and support
•Chapter V – Substantive law
•Chapter VI – Investigation, prosecution, procedural law & protective measures
•Chapter VII – Migration & asylum
•Chapter VIII - International Co-operation
•Chapter IX – Monitoring mechanism
Chapter XII – Final clauses
Professor Jones also outlined some of the key provisions of the Istanbul Convention on violence against women, including domestic violence. These included, legal definitions as described in the Convention (domestic violence, rape (including marital rape), gender-specific offences) as well as pointing out the historical unequal position of women to men in society. Special measures are premissible under the Convention and every state that ratifies it is under a due diligence obligation to create an environment in which women and girls (as well as men and boys) live lives free of fear in order to fulfil their full potential.  
The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling on the EU to accede to the Istanbul Convention.