The Istanbul Convention – A means to combat violence against women

The Istanbul Convention is the first legally binding agreement on violence against women in Europe. It describes how the abolition of violence against women is necessary in order to achieve gender equality and requires states to take comprehensive measures. Sweden ratified the convention in 2014 and in 2019 we received 41 recommendations from the Council of Europe's expert group GREVIO (Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence), which is the convention's review body. In 2022, the government must report how Sweden has handled these recommendations.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is the most comprehensive human rights convention in its field. The purpose of the Convention is to protect women and girls against all forms of violence, including honour-related violence and oppression, and to prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence.

The agreement states that violence against women is an expression of unequal power relations, condemns all forms of violence and requires comprehensive measures to stop men's violence against women. The convention was opened for signature at a ministerial meeting in Istanbul in May 2011 when Sweden signed, and then ratifying the convention in November 2014.

The convention shall contribute to abolishing all forms of discrimination against women and to promoting equality. It underlines that women and girls are exposed to gender-related violence and violence in the home to a greater degree than men and points out that eliminating violence against women is necessary in order to achieve gender equality.

The Istanbul Convention deals with measures against all forms of violence against women and girls, including honour-related violence and oppression. It also aims to counter all forms of violence in intimate relationships, including against children, people within the LGBTQI group and national minorities.

Inspiring examples that respond to GREVIO's recommendations

The Council of Europe's expert group GREVIO has reviewed how well Sweden lives up to the Istanbul convention. The review resulted in 41 recommendations and we have collected examples of activities at local and regional level that respond to these.

Men's violence against women

Publication date: 28 July 2022

Last updated: 22 December 2022