The Government signed the Istanbul Convention to signal the UK’s strong commitment to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG). On 30 October 2018, in line with the requirements of the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017, we published a progress report which set out that, in most respects, the UK already complies with, or goes further than, the Convention requires. We have significantly strengthened the legislative framework; introduced new protective tools; and issued a range of guidance and support for frontline professionals.
We have always been clear on our commitment to ratifying the Convention. The Domestic Abuse Bill will be another step towards meeting that commitment by extending extraterritorial jurisdiction over offences required by the Convention which, for England and Wales, is the final legislative step necessary for ratification. We published the Domestic Abuse Bill in draft form for pre-legislative scrutiny on 21 January 2019.
As the criminal law and the majority of the areas covered by the Convention are devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Devolved Administrations are considering what legislative or other changes are necessary for compliance with the Convention in their territories. The Government liaises regularly with the Devolved Administrations on VAWG issues and we will continue working closely with the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive.