More Protection Needed to Eliminate Violence Against Women

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In marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November 2016) the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission calls on the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to strengthen its human rights protections and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (The Istanbul Convention).

Statistics collated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland record that domestic violence has increased in Northern Ireland in the last year.

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby commented:

“There have been over 28,000 incidents of domestic violence in Northern Ireland over the past year alone, which includes violence against both men and women in the family or domestic unit. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked that the majority of victims of domestic violence are women and that domestic violence against them is part of a wider pattern of discrimination and inequality”.

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby added:

“Violence against women includes stalking, sexual harassment, sexual violence (including rape), physical, and psychological abuse at the hands of intimate partners, forced marriage, and forced sterilisation. These are all are deeply traumatising acts of violence and we should always seek to do more to ensure our protections reach the highest level of human rights standards. We are therefore calling on the UK Government and the N.I Executive to ratify the Istanbul Convention so that it can be implemented into domestic law, policy, and practice”.

ENDS

For further information:

For further information please contact: Claire Martin on 07717731873 or 02890 243987 or on claire.martin@nihrc.org

24 November 2016

Notes to editors:

1. Watch our short video with Women’s Aid: Every Day Rights in the Community; Domestic Abuse here:

2. Statistics collated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland record that domestic violence has increased year on year since 2004/05, with the exception of two decreases recorded, a 1.6 percent decrease between 2006/07 and 2007/08 and a 7.3 per cent decrease between 2009/10 and 2010/11. The figure of 28,465 incidents for July 2015 to June 2016 is the highest level recorded since 2004/05, and shows an increase of 0.3 per cent on the 2014/15 figure of 28,392. Of the 28,465 incidents recorded in the twelve months to 30 June 2016, 12,657 incidents contained one or more crimes (amounting to 14,220 recorded crimes in total). Access the PSNI Statistics here

3. The Council of Europe Convention (Istanbul Convention) on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence increases protections for men and women, as it is not only women and girls who suffer domestic violence. Parties to the Convention are encouraged to apply the protective framework it creates to men who are exposed to violence within the family or domestic unit.

4. The UK Government has signed the Council of Europe Convention,(the Istanbul Convention), on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence but not yet ratified it.

5. Find out more about what ratification means at: http://ask.un.org/faq/14594

6. The UN CEDAW in its 2013 Concluding Observations on the UK recommended that the UK ‘ratify the Istanbul Convention’. The UN CRC in its 2016 Concluding Observations on the UK also recommended ‘ratifying the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence’.

7. Read the full: Istanbul Convention

8. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) pursuant to section 69(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice relating to the protection of human rights.


24 Nov 2016