Istanbul Convention Monitoring: Action against violence against women and domestic violence

The Scottish Human Rights Commission is launching a call for evidence to inform its monitoring of action on violence against women and domestic violence.

The Commission is currently working on a report to the Council of Europe on Scotland’s compliance with the Istanbul Convention, the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence which is due at the beginning of December 2023.

Scottish laws

Our report will focus on Scottish laws, policies and practices that aim to tackle violence against women and girls, focusing on where there are gaps and significant issues of concern, as well as where there is good practice.

This mini call for evidence will help us pinpoint the key priorities for our report.

We are particularly keen to understand:

  • What local policies and practices exist and how are they working, for example local authority policies and funding arrangements for vital services
  • How women and girls who are survivors of men’s violence are treated in the criminal justice system.
  • How are women and girls with protected characteristics experience their rights under the Convention

The questionnaire

The questionnaire has seven questions in total, covering the themes of prevention, protection, prosecution and integrated policies. You are not required to answer all the questions if you don’t want to. 

To reply to the call for evidence please click here

Please note that this questionnaire will close on Friday 3 November 2023.

What does the Istanbul Convention cover?

The Convention’s purpose as described in Article 1 is to protect women from all forms of violence, prevent and prosecute such violence and thereby contribute to the elimination of discrimination against women.

The Istanbul Convention covers four broad themes:

  • Preventing domestic and gender-based violence – this includes the presence of measures aiming at changing attitudes and gender roles: campaigns, education, training of professionals, data collection (Chapter 3)
  • Protecting women and girls who experience domestic and gender-based violence through a general obligation to protect victims from further violence and specific requirements of the state to set up support services for them and their children: counselling, psychological support, shelters, national helplines etc. (Chapter 4)
  • Prosecution of perpetrators by having in place procedures and legislation such as criminal offences, appropriate sanctions, swift investigations, risk assessment, protection orders (Chapters 5 and 6)
  • The adopting of integrated policies to ensure that all the above measures become part of a co-ordinated and holistic response to all forms of VAW and domestic violence (chapter 2)

What does the Istanbul Convention not cover?

The Istanbul Convention is very comprehensive, but there are certain things it does not cover:

  • Men and boys victims of domestic or gender-based violence, although the Article 2 encourages extension of relevant protections to men and boys, this isn’t required by the Convention.
  • Recognition of a standalone right to abortion, although forced or coerced abortion is covered.
  • LGBTI+ people’s wider rights, for example to same-sex marriage or gender recognition, however all women and girls regardless of “ sex, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, state of health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status, or other status” must be granted the rights in the Convention (Article 4)
  • A required legal treatment of prostitution / sex work

While all of these matters are important, they cannot be covered in our monitoring report because they do not fall within the scope of the convention.


If you have any further questions, please contact Eilidh Dickson, our Policy and International Officer via email: