New responsibilities for Local Authorities from today

Posted November, 2022

The Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence - also known as the Istanbul Convention, after the city where the first signatures were made - comes into force in the United Kingdom today, after being approved by the UK on the 21st July 2022.

Governments must from today take measures to implement its provisions. This means that local, regional, and national governments now have new legal responsibilities.

Local authorities must now make sure of equal access and that it remains a fair and unbiased provision, tailored to individual need. What this means is that the circumstances of each woman must be considered fully and wholly and in a truly intersectional way. The Key Facts document about the Convention says,

‘A victim’s access to support services, shelters, protection, and justice should not vary depending on her type of disability, her residence status, whether she was born a woman or whom she loves.’

It is as yet unclear how implementation will be rolled out. RISE will be working to ensure that local and national governments keep the commitments made and the new responsibilities that are now required of them. In our previous post about this, we said

RISE continues to be concerned that the UK does not provide sufficient support for migrant victims as it is intending to reserve ‘article 59’ - the specific provisions for refugee and migrant women and girls. This reservation must be removed to ensure the equal protection of all survivors regardless of their immigration status.”

We also noted that we understand that intending to ‘reserve’ or exclude certain provisions is not possible and so we expect this to be picked up as part of the ongoing monitoring of implementation. Each government that has approved this convention will be monitored and their implementation of it and will be highlighted and held to account if it is not done properly. All Governments, at all levels within the UK will need to be mindful of this new legislation, and ensure their staff, from the front line to the back, from the top offices down, are briefed and knowledgeable.

Jo Gough, RISE CEO comments,

“RISE has campaigned for many years for this gold standard approach and we are looking forward to working with both local and national government to apply the convention to bring about lasting change for survivors”

RISE is committed to supporting our local and national authority partners to achieve successful implementation of this convection. We can be contacted at [email protected]