Search

Suffolk MPs urged to help tackle domestic abuse and vote to ratify the Istanbul Convention

PUBLISHED: 17:12 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 23 February 2017

Campaigners from IC Change; SNP politician Gavin Newlands is in the centre, with Ipswich supporter Helen Taylor standing to his left. Picture: KE Januszek Photography

Campaigners from IC Change; SNP politician Gavin Newlands is in the centre, with Ipswich supporter Helen Taylor standing to his left. Picture: KE Januszek Photography

Archant

Campaigners in Suffolk are urging MPs to back a ground-breaking European treaty that aims to eradicate domestic violence against women and girls.

Tomorrow the Istanbul Convention bill will go for its third and final reading in the House of Commons and it needs the support of 100 ministers in order to move on to the next stage.

It will then go before the House of Lords, and if it is passed it will legally require the UK Government to provide enough funding for refuges, support centres, helplines, education in schools on healthy relationships and training for professionals.

Helen Taylor, from Ipswich, is part of IC Change, a volunteer-led organisation pushing for ratification of the convention in Britain.

She said: “It’s about a culture change.

“At the minute resources like Rape Crisis live hand to mouth, trying to apply for little pots of money and not knowing where the next six months [of funding] is coming from.

“There are refuges closing and Rape Crisis centres closing and what happens when these places close is all the specialism and expertise is lost.”

Nationally, domestic abuse will affect one in four women in their lifetime; but in Suffolk, Ms Taylor said the crime impacted one in three.

Woodbridge supporter Gemma Thompson said she had tried to contact her MP, Therese Coffey, via email and Twitter about the topic, but had not received a response.

She said: “Domestic abuse is a huge issue for those that live in rural communities with the natural isolation aiding and abetting abusers so that victims find it so much harder to escape.”

Ms Coffey has been approached for a comment.

Both Dan Poulter, MP for central Suffolk and north Ipswich, and Waveney MP Peter Aldous, said they fully backed the treaty, but they were unable to make it to the vote tomorrow due to commitments in their constituencies.

Mr Aldous added: “Ratifying the convention will be an important landmark which we must reach as soon as possible.”

James Cartlidge, MP for south Suffolk, is campaigning in the Cambrian by-election today but he said he was planning to travel back to London, depending on the weather, and support the bill.

He added: “The Government has already signed the convention and I am pleased to say that many of the necessary measures to protect women and girls from violence are already in place in the UK.

“That said, I am keen to see all reasonable steps taken to bring domestic law fully in line with the convention.”

This week Harry Potter star and women’s rights activist Emma Watson wrote to MPs pressing them to attend Parliament tomorrow.

In her letter, Ms Watson said: “You have a unique opportunity to play a part in ending gender-based violence in our country.

“I assure you people all over the UK will be grateful to you if you do, because it affects everyone that comes into contact with it.”

The Istanbul Convention is the first legal framework focussed on preventing domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators.

It was opened for signature in 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey, and it has since been adopted by 21 other countries.

The UK Government signed a commitment to seeing it through four years ago, and in December 2016 135 MPs voted in favour of ratifying the treaty.

IC Change co-director Rebecca Bunce said: “This is not a time to play politics.

“Women are dying. Two women are murdered every week at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.

“This law offers a chance to help end violence against women: whether sexual assault, domestic violence, so-called honour based violence, forced marriage or FGM.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Stowmarket Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Stowmarket Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Stowmarket Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other popular content

18:00

People living along a 183km stretch of Suffolk roads will witness the world’s greatest cyclists race past their doorsteps during Britain’s “premier” road event, which for the first time features a stage hosted entirely within the county.

17 minutes ago

Crew members from the lifeboat station in West Mersea battled for five hours this afternoon to save a wooden boat from sinking off the coast of Burnham-on-Crouch.

38 minutes ago

A drunk motorist who drove at speeds of up to 110mph during a police chase on Suffolk roads has been jailed for 16 months.

Children’s wards in East Anglia are being offered a state-of-the-art cinema room as part of Finite Solutions Cine-makeover campaign.

Helpful information

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 1°C

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24