International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
We must leave no one behind in ending violence against women and girls
One in three women and girls worldwide experience violence in their lifetime. They face this violence because they are women.
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
This year’s theme, “Leave no one behind”, comes at a time when millions of women and girls around the world have taken to social media to say #MeTooand expose the scale of sexual harassment and violence they have experienced in their lives.
In the UK, over a million women and girls experienced domestic violence or abuse last year. Domestic violence does not discriminate. It affects women of all ages, classes, races and sexualities.
I am proud that this February, I forced the Government to commit to ratify the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women. Signed in 2012, the Istanbul Convention is a comprehensive legal framework that requires the Government to set out minimum standards and create legally binding measures for preventing and tackling domestic abuse. It obligates the Government to take measures to protect and support victims and prosecute perpertrators.
On 1st November, the Government should have published the ratification timetable to bring about a much needed step change in the way violence against women and girls is considered, tackled and prevented in the UK. Sadly, they did not deliver.
Twenty-two states, including most of our European neighbours, have already ratified the Istanbul Convention. It is simply not acceptable that every day the Government delays, women and children in the UK do not have the same protections.
I will continue to push the Government to ratify the Convention without further delay and ensure we leave no one behind in our fight to end violence against women and girls