Anti-violence convention becomes first SNP law to make Westminster statute book


Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP’s law to back violence against women convention is passed

THE Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women Bill has become the first ever piece of UK legislation proposed by a Scottish nationalist politician to receive support from the House of Commons and House of Lords. 

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP led the campaign to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which enshrines legal rules on governments to prevent violence against women and prosecute those responsible. 

The bill was passed by the house of lords yesterday [Thursday 6 April] and now continues to receive confirmation with royal assent. The bill was supported by a range of women’s and feminist campaign organisation who want more action to tackle violence against women and domestic abuse, which often goes under-reported as well as having historically low rates of conviction compared to other crimes. 

“I’m very pleased to have been able to steer through legislation, but it’s only the beginning.” Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP 

Whiteford, welcoming the progress, said: “I’m delighted to be the first ever SNP MP to have a Private Member’s Bill reach the statute book.

“I brought forward this Bill because the Istanbul Convention has the potential to change the lives of women in my own constituency of Banff and Buchan, across the whole of the UK and also globally. The Convention is the gold standard for legislation to prevent and combat violence against women and girls, and domestic violence.

Explainer: What the Istanbul Convention is and why it matters

“Since I started the process of bringing forward this Bill in June 2016, the Government have moved quite significantly – with the PM committing to overseeing new legislation on domestic violence. This could be, if the Government want it to be, the legislative vehicle to bring the UK into full compliance with the convention, paving the way for ratification.

“I’m very pleased to have been able to steer through legislation, but it’s only the beginning. Now we’ll be holding the Government to account on their report and timetable for ratification. I won’t stop this work until the UK ratifies the Istanbul Convention.”

Picture courtesy of Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP

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