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Welfare Ministry: society is confused over the scope of Istanbul Convention

Jānis Reirs/flickr.com.
Latvian Welfare Ministry stands in favour of ratification of Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Violence in the Family, the so-called Istanbul Convention.

Violence against women and domestic violence is so topical that 47 European Council member states have agreed to write a special document dedicated to this problem, the ministry notes.

«The Istanbul Convention is very important to Latvia. Unfortunately, domestic violence is too common in Latvia. Signing this convention would help combat this problem more efficiently, as well as reduce violence against women and families. I invite everyone – politicians and residents – to study this document,» says Latvia Welfare Minister Jānis Reirs.

«Violence does great harm to all of society. Children exposed to violence every day become aggressive towards siblings and other children or become psychologically and physically exhausted. Stress and physical abuse make it hard for women to live normal lives,» adds the minister.

Statistics also prove that violence is a major problem in Latvia. In 2016, five women killed their life partners, seventeen women were killed as a result of violence committed by others. 79 women suffered serious injuries at the hands of their life partners or other relatives. 148 women ended up in hospital as a result of domestic violence, notes the ministry.

The ministry noted that different cultures and countries have different views on what is and what isn’t appropriate for each gender. These views have a profound effect on the standing of both men and women in society. Unfortunately, this situation has resulted in certain stereotypes forming in society about women and their roles, which in turn often leads to the belief that violence against women is and acceptable thing.

«Society is misled into believing that the convention affects same sex marriage legalization, sex change regulation or creation of mixed sexes. The scope of the convention is strictly limited and covers violence prevention matters. Definitions detailed in the convention are not applicable to other spheres of our lives,» Welfare Ministry notes.

The ministry also notes that the convention explains that it is important to discuss the reasons for violence based on gender roles. The convention also emphasizes that it is important to change attitudes and stereotypes that make violence against women acceptable; promote awareness for different forms of violence, and educate society about gender equality matters. Prevention of violence, victim protection of punishment of those responsible forms the foundation for the convention.

The convention includes the following objectives:

-reduce all forms of discrimination used against women and promote gender equality;

-protect women and girls from all forms of violence, as well as prevent, punish and reduce domestic violence;

-create comprehensive content, appropriate policy and social events to protect and help all victims of domestic violence;

-improve international cooperation to reduce violence against women and domestic violence;

-ensure cooperation between social organization and law enforcement and create a comprehensive approach towards reducing violence against women.


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