Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

Domestic violence against women is a rising phenomenon that knows no geographical boundary, age limit or colour bar, and affects every type of family relationship and social class. Statistics show that 12% to 15% of women in Europe face violence in the home every day. It is one of the most widespread violations of human rights worldwide, and must be combated.

Since the 1990s, the Council of Europe has actively promoted the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, namely by adopting Recommendation (2002) 5 on the protection of women against violence and by running a Europe-wide campaign on violence against women, including domestic violence in 2006-2008.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is the most far-reaching international treaty to tackle this serious violation of human rights. It aims at zero tolerance for such violence and is a major step forward in making Europe and beyond a safer place.

Preventing violence, protecting its victims and prosecuting the perpetrators are the cornerstones of the convention. It also seeks to change the hearts and minds of individuals by calling on all members of society, in particular men and boys, to change attitudes. In essence, it is a renewed call for greater equality between women and men, because violence against women is deeply rooted in the inequality between women and men in society and is perpetuated by a culture of tolerance and denial.

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Ending violence against women is not about ending traditions or ending sexual differences
Council of Europe Strasbourg 22 November 2018
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Ending misconceptions about the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence

To mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the Council of Europe clears away serious misconceptions about its landmark Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (known as “Istanbul Convention”).

Despite its clearly stated aims, several religious and ultra conservative groups have been spreading false narratives about the Istanbul Convention, especially around the concept of “gender” included in its text. These misrepresentations are exposed and rectified in a new question-and-answer format text released today, which also highlights the focus of the convention to end violence against women and to protect women’s human rights.

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Johanna Nelles, from the Council of Europe, explains what the Convention is and how it works.

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