Target: The fourteen Council of Europe member countries which signed and ratified the Istanbul Convention
Goal: Support treaty which protects and counsels abused women and girls
Worldwide, women and girls suffer disproportionately from violence, most often at the hands of men they know well. A survey of 28 European Union (EU) member states conducted by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) states that one in three women has suffered from physical and/or sexual abuse since the age of 15. An estimated 500,000 girls have suffered female genital mutilation in the EU alone, and every year 180,000 more are at risk. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, hopes to combat this violence.
The treaty holds each participating country responsible for protection from domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, harassment and any other threat which disproportionately targets women and girls. Under the treaty, countries must provide support to survivors and at-risk women with 24/7 call centers, shelters and access to physical and psychological support from trained professionals. The countries must set up gender-sensitive asylums to protect women fleeing violence internationally and provide them the protection they seek. Though the protections under the convention are directed specifically towards safeguarding women, the services will extend to anyone suffering these abuses.
The treaty will help protect women from the insufficient laws and ridiculous loopholes like those documented by Human Rights Watch. In Hungary, Zsuzsa was told by police that, “unless blood flows, there’s nothing we can do,” when she sought protection from abuse. Or Selvi from Turkey who was sent home again and again to the abuser who pushed her off a roof.
Thirty-six of the forty-seven Council of Europe members have signed the treaty, and fourteen have ratified it to include more extensive sanctions. Sign this petition in support of women’s rights around the world and be a voice against abuse. The fourteen countries are Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
Dear Council of Europe members,
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence offers safety and support for abused women, as well as preventative measures against future acts of violence. The treaty holds participating countries responsible for creating centers for abused women and offering trained counseling, support and protection to women in need.
I praise the members of the Council of Europe who have signed and ratified the Istanbul Convention and committed to changing the world for women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Josef Seibel via Wikimedia Commons