1. Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention)


Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention)

The Council of Europe (CoE) approved the establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CAHVIO) in December 2008 to prepare one or more legally binding instruments "to prevent and combat domestic violence including specific forms of violence against women, and to protect and support the victims of such violence as well as prosecute the perpetrators."

Following 2 years of negotiation and drafting the CoE Convention on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence was agreed by the CoE in January 2011. Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, actively contributed to all stages of the drafting process in relation to the convention. The convention is also referred to as the Istanbul Convention as it was opened for signature at the CoE Ministers meeting in Istanbul in May 2011. 

Ireland supports, in principle, the aims and terms of the Istanbul Convention. It is a detailed convention with a very broad scope across a number of policy areas with potential policy and legislative implications. Although the convention has a focus on violence against women Member States are encouraged to apply its provisions on domestic violence to men also. Ireland supported this proposal.

The provisions of the convention and the legislative and administrative arrangements that would be necessary to allow signature and ratification of the convention by Ireland are being examined in conjunction with the government commitment to introduce consolidated and reformed domestic violence legislation to address all aspects of domestic violence, threatened violence and intimidation, in a way that provides protection to victims.  However, a particular difficulty to be addressed in Ireland’s consideration of the convention relates to reconciling property rights under the Irish constitution with the requirement under Article 52 of the convention - the availability of emergency barring orders to all.

Preliminary development of the consolidated and reformed legislation, including consideration of the convention provisions, is being advanced by Cosc and legislative drafting will be progressed as soon as possible having regard to the need for consultations and other legislative priorities.

The convention has not yet entered into force as this requires at least ten ratifications, including 8 member states.  Further information on the convention including the full text and explanatory report are available on the Council of Europe Website