Belgium signs the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

date: 11 September 2012

On the occasion of a working visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders today signed, on behalf of Belgium, the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). This was an objective explicitly stated in the coalition agreement. Among other things, the Convention encourages the States of Europe to develop a global, concerted and integrated policy to address these types of violence effectively. In particular, while it includes prevention and repression measures, it also aims to improve the support that is given to the victim.

Minister Reynders and Minister for Justice Annemie Turtelboom, with whom he jointly signed the Convention, are both delighted with this development. They also both stressed how important it is: “This latest Council of Europe Convention is the first judicial and binding instrument that provides for a series of measures in this area. Belgium’s rapid signature demonstrates how important this issue is for the federal government and the federated entities. “

Minister Turtelboom added: “Belgium has already actually adopted most of the Convention at Belgian policy level. This year, for instance, we adopted a new law on temporary restraining orders in cases of domestic violence. Signing this Convention is the next logical step.” With this signature, the government also honours a commitment made in the national action plan on violence between partners and other types of domestic violence. “The Convention will guide us in our future steps concerning this issue,” Minister Turtelboom concluded.