Istanbul Convention

Home Office written question – answered on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Minister for the Home Office, when the Government plans to ratify the 2012 Istanbul Convention on violence against women and girls.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government takes its international commitments very seriously and we have always been clear on our commitment to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 requires Ministers to publish annual reports on their progress towards being able to ratify the Convention. The most recent report was published on 31 October 2019 and is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/843509/CCS0919132732-001_Istanbul_Convention_2019_Report_Option_A_Web_Accessible.pdf

Legislation needs to pass before we can ratify the Convention, so at this stage we cannot be sure what the timeframe for ratification will be. When this is clear we will set out a timeframe for ratification. The Domestic Abuse Bill had its Second Reading on 28 April and has now begun Committee stage for detailed scrutiny by MPs. Part 6 of the Bill includes provisions for the purposes of Article 44 of the Convention, which requires that criminal courts in the UK have extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain violent and sexual offences. Additionally, the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill currently before the Northern Ireland Assembly provides for a new domestic abuse offence which would criminalise psychological violence in Northern Ireland, as required by Article 33 of the Convention. That Bill also takes extraterritorial jurisdiction in respect of the new offence and so, together with the provisions of Part 6 of the Domestic Abuse Bill, will ensure that the law in Northern Ireland meets the requirements of Article 44.

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