Strasbourg, 25 November 2013 - On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Secretary General Jagland encouraged states to ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on violence against women.
“If you set up an email alert for domestic violence, the results are mostly sad news. But the reality is even worse: many victims do not report abuse, often out of fear of being hurt again or stigmatized,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“Every day around the world, women face not just domestic violence but other forms of violence, including female genital mutilation, stalking and “honour” killings.
The Council of Europe and its member states resolve to reverse this trend. More member states are ratifying the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, as it provides practical measures to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. To date, eight member states have ratified it and only two more are needed for it to go into effect.
By accepting its obligations, governments commit to changing gender-stereotyped attitudes that make violence acceptable. They must provide services for victims such as shelters, round-the-clock helplines, rape crisis or sexual violence referral centres, medical and legal counselling.
We cannot accept cultural excuses for any form of violence based on so-called honour.
Our Convention enables prosecutors to initiate and continue proceedings, even if the victim withdraws the complaint, and can extend jurisdictions over offenses committed abroad.
Our Convention serves government agencies, police, social services, NGOs, parliaments, the private sector and the media. Practical and detailed, the Convention will lead to safety from fear and violence, because it is already shaping legislation, policies and practices in our member states and beyond.
The two needed ratifications for its entry into force could happen during Austria’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe, between this month and May 2014.
Today we mark the international day against violence against women, and we know what needs to be done. I call on all our member states to ratify our convention”.