SNP MP rallies support for third reading of law to tackle violence against women

Written by Jenni Davidson on 24 February 2017 in News

SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has urged MPs of all parties to turn up and vote for new legislation to ratify the Istanbul Convention

Eilidh Whiteford MP - Image credit: UK Parliament

SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford is urged MPs of all parties to turn up and support her bill for a new law to tackle violence against women, which has its third reading in the House of Commons today.

If passed, the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill 2017, would require the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

The convention puts legal obligations on the state to prevent violence against women, protect women and prosecute the perpetrators.

The UK Government signed it in 2012, but it has not yet become part of UK law.

The convention encompasses many forms of sexual violence and domestic abuse including stalking, harassment, sexual assault and rape, physical and psychological abuse by a partner, forced marriage, forced abortion or sterilisation and female genital mutilation.

Earlier this week the actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, wrote to all MPs urging them to back the bill.

Theresa May also encouraged MPs to vote for it at Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this week.

A minimum of one hundred MPs need to be present for the third reading to ensure that the bill goes to a vote and to prevent it being filibustered.

Whiteford said: “It is vital that MPs from all parties turn up and vote for this ground-breaking bill to combat gender-based violence – this historic law has the potential to transform the lives of thousands of women.
 
“The Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive and far-reaching framework that exists to tackle violence against women in its many forms and manifestations, and critically, it provides the legal apparatus to hold governments accountable for their progress.

“This is a powerful vehicle for improving policy, practices and services on an ongoing basis.
 
“We have waited nearly five years for the UK government to ratify the convention.

“With every day that goes by we are letting down the survivors of abuse and letting perpetrators off the hook– so it is crucial that MPs now take this opportunity to finally make it happen.”

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