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European gender equality ministers call on all European countries to join Istanbul Convention without delay to reduce violence against women

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 11.5.2021 11.26
Press release 127/2021

Today, 11 May 2021, marks the 10th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention. In order to mark this occasion, European gender equality ministers and many other ministers from EU Member States have signed a common initiative calling on European countries to quickly accede to the Convention.

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru and Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality Thomas Blomqvist have signed the initiative on behalf of Finland. The other signatories are Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Sweden.

The significance of the Istanbul Convention has recently been questioned in many countries. This is the case even though the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased negative effects particularly on women. With the initiative, the ministers wish to stress the importance of the Convention and encourage those EU countries that have not yet acceded to the Convention to do so and to take concrete action to prevent violence against women.

About one in three women has experienced violence after reaching the age of 15

A total of 33 countries have ratified or acceded to the Istanbul Convention. Finland ratified the Convention in 2015.

The Convention aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. It also aims to protect victims of violence and bring perpetrators of violence to justice. The Istanbul Convention is the first pan-European instrument to set legally binding standards to prevent and combat violence against women.

Violence against women is a global human rights problem, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this problem. It is estimated that one out of three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence after reaching the age of 15. In the EU, about 50 women die from domestic violence every week. The cost of violence against women is estimated to be over EUR 225 billion per year in the EU.

Finland is a strong supporter of the Istanbul Convention and promotes the widest possible acceptance of the Convention. Finland also supports the EU’s accession to the Convention. Finland’s goal is for the EU to work even harder to reduce all violence against women. In addition, Finland advocates the full implementation of the Convention in all EU activities. 

In Finland, the Action Plan for the Istanbul Convention was drawn up for 2018–2021. The Committee for Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (NAPE) will prepare an Action Plan for 2022–2025 during this year.

In 2020, the Government also adopted an Action Plan for Combating Violence against Women for 2020-2023. Preventing and combating violence against women is also one of the priorities of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government.


Taina Riski, Senior Specialist, Secretary General of Committee for Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (NAPE), Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] tel. +358 29 524 7364
Tanja Auvinen, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] tel. +358 29 51 63715

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