Gordon MP Gives Support to the Istanbul Convention

Gordon MP Gives Support to the Istanbul Convention

Published date : 10 June, 2022

Gordon MP Richard Thomson yesterday joined 56 cross-party MPs and peers at a Parliamentary event to call on the Government to make the Istanbul Convention on violence against women law without exceptions. The Convention is a gold standard legal framework to tackle violence against women and girls, and a lifeline to survivors.  

On 17 May 2022, the Government announced they plan to ratify the Convention. This comes ten years after the UK signed the Convention on 8 June 2012 and many years of campaigning. However, the Government plans to ‘opt out’ of key parts of the Convention that provide life-saving support and protections, particularly for migrant women. This reinforces the power of the perpetrators and increases the risk faced by migrant survivors. 

Over 57 MPs and peers urged the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention and opt in to providing support for migrant women. The event was run by IC Change and supporting organisations, including the Women’s Institute, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Safety4Sisters, Solace Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis.  

Violence against women and girls is devastatingly high across the UK. Over the last decade, over 1220 women were killed by men.  


Commenting after the event, Richard Thomson MP said: 

“I want to help end violence towards women and girls in the UK. The statistics and stories show that we still have a long way to go and we need action to change this.  

“The UK Government’s plans to ratify the Convention are a step towards a safer world for all women and girls, but today I join IC Change and leading organisations from across the women’s sector in calling on the government to protect all women, including migrant women, when they ratify. 

“I also pay tribute to my colleague and former MP for Banff and Buchan Eilidh Whiteford who got a Private Members’ Bill passed in 2017 which started the process of forcing the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention and got us to this point today.” 


Robyn Andréo-Boosey, co-director of IC Change, said: 

This law is about women's lives and all women being able to live free from violence.  

Whilst we welcome the news and plans to ratify the Convention, we are extremely concerned to hear that the Government plans to include reservations that will put migrant women at risk. The power of the Convention lies in the fact it offers all women and girls protection without discrimination.  

We urge the Government to ensure that ratification leaves no woman behind. We will not accept caveats or exceptions. All women means all women.” 


Further information 

IC Change is a volunteer-run campaign for the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. We believe that the UK needs a long-term, practical and targeted approach to ending violence against women in all its forms. The Istanbul Convention offers such an approach. 

The campaign began in November 2014, has cross party support in Parliament, and is supported by over 50 organisations.  

For more information on the IC Change campaign go to and @ICChangeUK on Twitter. 



Photo Caption: Richard Thomson MP holds a sign to show support for the IC Change Campaign to end violence against all women 

Photo Credit: Kiki Streitberger 



  • The Istanbul Convention – (or full name: Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence) - is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls. 
  • The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (The Istanbul Convention) was published on 11 May 2011. The Convention sets out minimum standards for States for the prevention, protection, prosecution and monitoring of issues relating to violence against women. There is more information on the Convention here:  
  • The UK Government released a statement on 17 May 2022 announcing its commitment to ratifying the Istanbul Convention by 31 July 2022, but is opting out of protections for some women, including migrant women, through its reservations on article 44 and 59. 
  • Whilst the Government’s recent commitment to ratifying the Istanbul Convention is a welcome development, it has also announced that it intends to place reservations on both Article 44 and Article 59 of the Convention. The reservation to Article 59, which requires member states to grant residence to victims whose immigration status depends on an abusive partner, is especially concerning, as it denies migrant women survivors life-saving support. It will mean migrant women, who will be some of the most reliant on the protections of the Convention, will be excluded from it. This is in direct opposition to the spirit of the Convention, which is firmly based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination.  
  • The UK’s position on Article 59 has been under review pending the conclusion and evaluation of the short-term pilot Support for Migrant Victims Scheme, which was launched on 1 April 2021. The findings of the external evaluation are expected to be published this summer. 
  • The Government has issued a Command Paper laid before both Houses alongside an Explanatory Memorandum, allowing 21 days for any objections to be raised, after which it will seek to deposit its instrument of ratification. This announcement comes ahead of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Convention by the UK on 8 June 2022.  
  • There is strong support for ratification, including firm cross-party backing in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, ongoing championing from women’s sector organisations, and a call from now over 19,000 signatories to a petition calling on the Government to finally take this critical step. 
  • The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 can be found here:
  • At the time of writing, 35 countries have already ratified the Convention. They include Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Full list here:  

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