The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CETS No. 120, the so-called Istanbul Convention) has finally reached the necessary number of ratifications for its entry into force, which will take place on 1 August 2014. So far, 11 Council of Europe member States have ratified it and 23 more have signed it.
Members of the Parliamentary Assembly and national parliamentarians have played an important role throughout the process which has led to this result, including the inception of the Convention, its negotiation, its opening for signature and its ratification. The Parliamentary Network “Women Free from Violence” has been particularly active in raising awareness on violence against women and organising parliamentary events that could smoothen out signature and ratification.
Both the Assembly and national parliamentarians shall continue to be involved also after the entry into force of the Convention: this is the first international instrument to foresee a role of parliaments in monitoring its implementation by the State parties. In this regard, it would strongly enhance the monitoring capacity of national parliamentarians as well as their expertise as legislators if they could have at their disposal in-depth information on best models of legislation and practice on violence against women which are applied in other Council of Europe member States, in areas such as prevention, protection of victims, prosecution of the offenders and integrated policies. To this end, on the basis of a detailed report collecting and analysing these best models, the Assembly should formulate recommendations addressed to national parliaments.