Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women, Yvette Cooper has learnt that the Government is trying to weaken and dilute international action to protect women from domestic and sexual violence, despite the Home Secretary’s claims that violence against women is a priority.
In the same week that Theresa May is publishing a government strategy on violence against women, Home Office officials are proposing amendments to water down the Council of Europe convention on violence against women – including on rape during war and conflict situations and treating violence against women as a violation of human rights.
This comes at a time when domestic and sexual violence organisations are struggling to keep support services open due to the scale of government funding cuts, and the complete removal of DNA for those arrested but not charged looks set to make it harder for the police to achieve rape convictions.
Yvette Cooper said:
“It is hypocritical for the Government to claim that violence against women is a priority and then behind closed doors to try and water action down.
“We know that in many conflicts rape has been used systematically as a weapon of war – most disturbingly in the DRC, but in other conflicts too. The idea that women should only have a right to be protected against sexual or domestic violence in peace time is appalling, and it is shocking that the government is trying to water down international action to protect the most vulnerable women in the world.
“Taken alongside their continued refusal to sign the European Directive against human trafficking, it shows the Tory-led government are going cold on their commitment to stop violence against women and girls.”