Tell Theresa May to guarantee standards for women's services in the UK and worldwide

Theresa May. Photo: Home Office

Campaign supported by:
Women's Aid

In 2012 you helped us call on the government to sign an important new international treaty on preventing violence against women and domestic violence - the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention. They did, but a year on they still haven't ratified it.

Why haven't they taken this important next step, to help the convention become legally binding across the Council of Europe's 47 member states? We think we know the answer.

UK government spending cuts have devastated women's services - hitting refuges, rape crisis centres, domestic violence support and many other projects. In fact between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the domestic and sexual violence sector saw funding cuts of 31%. This has brought us to a situation where the UK may fail to meet basic standards in the Convention.

As things stand, the UK could ratify the Convention without needing to make any changes to the way we approach the issue. We're concerned that their reluctance to ratify the Convention could mean that their coming round of service cuts is expected to take us below the international minimum standards they agreed only last year.

If enough countries ratify, the provisions in the Convention will take force in many countries where they're sorely needed, such as Turkey, Albania or Hungary. By not ratifying, are the UK government signalling a drop in their commitment to end violence against women?

To Home Secretary Theresa May

Please commit the UK to ratifying the Council of Europe's Istanbul convention on violence against women and domestic violence. The UK should be taking an international lead on this vital issue, not failing to meet minimum standards of protection for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.