Sisters Uncut

Taking direct action for domestic violence services.

Were you lying Theresa?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In June 2012 the coalition government said they were serious about ending violence against women.

They said they would fully support the Istanbul Convention, which is an international plan that makes governments responsible for preventing gendered-violence and providing specialist support and intervention that protects survivors when they need it. The convention guarantees refuge provision, early intervention services and specialist support for all survivors, including women with insecure immigration status. Crucially, it requires governments to allocate appropriate financial resources to make this happen.

The government, including the then Home Secretary Theresa May, promised to drastically change the lives of women in the UK by committing to a global convention that would legally bind them to prioritise women’s safety and end gender-based violence.

They lied.

Not only have they failed to make the Istanbul Convention law, the last four years has seen funding decimated in the specialist domestic and sexual violence sector and a raft of violent legislation that denies access to vital housing, welfare and legal support that saves lives.

If the UK government had ratified this convention, as promised, their fatal cuts would never have happened. They would have committed themselves to our safety. Two women a week may not have died at the hands of partners and ex-partners. Women with insecure immigration status would have had access to domestic violence support. Thousands of survivors would have been accepted into a safe refuge when they decided to flee.

Today, 13th July 2016, there will be a parliamentary lobby to bring the Istanbul Convention back to the doors of Westminster. Its intention is to remind MP’s of their previous commitment and to encourage them to support it’s recommendations and ensure it is ratified into UK law this year.

We wonder if our Prime Minister, the same Theresa May who so strongly supported the Convention in 2012, will use her new position to ensure this happens? If not, then she was lying when she said, “we are determined, not just to reduce, but to end violence against women and girls”.

Since 2012, 22 European countries have turned the convention into law, showing their commitment to the safety of survivors of domestic violence . Our government hasn’t even signed the document that says they intend to do so in future.

Sisters Uncut demands that the UK government make domestic violence a political priority by ratifying the Istanbul Convention. We demand that Theresa May makes true her commitment to our safety, and is held accountable at the international level. We demand the restoration of all funding that has been cut from vital specialist services.