What changes will the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on the prevention of violence against women bring?
Author: Natalia Ponomarenko, Attorney at Dynasty Law & Investment
Ukraine signed the “Council of Europe Convention on the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence and the fight against these phenomena”, commonly called the “Istanbul Convention” back in 2011. It took our country 11 long years and the prospect of receiving the status of a candidate for joining the European Union, so that finally on June 20, 2022, the Istanbul Convention was ratified, and it became a full-fledged part of domestic legislation in the field of protecting women from all forms of violence.
It is worth noting that some requirements of the Istanbul Convention were implemented by Ukraine independently. Thus, the institution of a restraining order was introduced and domestic violence was criminalized.
The Istanbul Convention significantly expands the list of actions, the punishment for which should become much more severe, up to the introduction of criminal liability. Thus, member states of the Convention should take measures to criminalize stalking, sexual harassment, forced abortion or sterilization, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage.
The Convention does not ignore the civil law aspects of the inevitability of the victim receiving compensation for the suffering and damage caused to his health. At the same time, the burden of compensation rests on both the violator and the state. In addition, the Convention obliges the state to maximally simplify the procedure and reduce the costs of the victim, necessary to seek justice and overcome the consequences of violence.
Another important aspect is that the current or former wife will also be recognized as a victim of violence, harassment or persecution, which in our society has long been considered “family affairs”, the state’s intervention in which was condemned.
We believe that the ratification of the Convention will significantly improve the degree of protection of women, as a more vulnerable gender, from illegal encroachments. If you are a victim of violence, please don’t keep quiet about it and don’t hesitate to seek help. The wrongdoer can and should be punished.