The SNP are calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention – the “gold standard” legal framework for tackling violence against women. The SNP, who have secured a Westminster debate on the issue, will argue that the UK government must ratify the European convention to ensure comprehensive policies are coordinated between government, local authorities and charities working to combat violence against women. The debate takes place during a week of outcry across the UK following comments made by pro-rape blogger, Roosh V.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Martin Docherty MP said: “The UK government can and must do more to end violence against women, and we are calling on them today to ensure there is cooperation between Government, local authorities and charities. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Women’s Aid have all called for the UK to ratify the pan-European convention on women’s and girls’ rights three years after signing up to it and 12 months since it came into force- yet we are still waiting. As a society we have made a lot of progress on this issue but still too many women are living in violent relationships and the comments made by pro-rapist Roosh V highlights the long journey that we’ve still got to travel to end the violence that women face on a daily basis. As well as being tough on those male perpetrators, we also have to adopt a preventative approach to stop these violent acts from occurring in the first place. The best way in which we can defeat violence against women is by working together and having a coordinated approach that intervenes early to prevent these violent acts from ever occurring. This includes working with organisations like The White Ribbon Campaign who stress that men have a key role to play in preventing violence against women.
The SNP in West Dunbartonshire fought hard to ensure that tackling violence against women was a key priority of the North Strathclyde Criminal Justice Authority, but we need support at a national level working with the Council, Police, Women’s Aid and Violence Against Women Partnership if we are to make the difference that we must. I urge the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention and ensure that we continue to introduce a series of preventative measures that will tackle and eradicate domestic violence from our society, and in doing so send a clear message that any form of violence against women will not be tolerated.”
David Barlett, Director of White Ribbon UK, added: “The appalling violence and coercion that women in this country experience from a minority of men is a national scandal, and still too often overlooked. The current public outcry against the views of men like the pro-rape activist Roosh V is vital – but we need to take a stand on this issue every day if women are to create a culture in which all violence and coercion towards women is unacceptable. We need far more influential men in political life, business, education, sport and other areas to take a lead and promise never to remain silent about or excuse any male violence against women. Organisations like the White Ribbon Campaign are already playing an essential role in making sure that this message is heard loud and clear by men. But we now need the Government to provide much-needed support, so the Campaign can go from strength to strength.”