The Istanbul Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is a human rights treaty which came into force in 2014 and has since been ratified by 37 countries. The Convention is the first legally-binding document to comprehensively tackle violence against women and domestic violence, which includes psychological violence, stalking, physical violence, sexual violence and sexual harassment. 

Ratifying countries must agree to implement the 4 pillars of the convention:

  • Prevention
  • Protection
  • Prosecution
  • Co-ordinated policies

Learn more about the 4 pillars of the Istanbul Convention here

Stopping the cycle of violence: Perpetrator programmes

Article 16 of the Istanbul Convention requires countries to set up and support perpetrator programmes (as part of the prevention methods) aimed at breaking the cycle of violence. As well as this, Article 16 requires that these prevention programmes ensure the safety of the victims and take a multi-agency approach. You can read more on the Council of Europe website here

Monitoring the implementation

Once countries have ratified the Istanbul Convention, their progress in implementing the policies is evaluated by an independent monitoring body: the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO). Perpetrator programmes play an important role in reporting to GREVIO on the level of implementation. You can read more about GREVIO and the reporting process here.

How you can become active

To encourage perpetrator programmes to promote, follow and monitor the Istanbul Convention implementation in their countries, we have compiled the following resources:

Last changed: 22.02.2024