Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Netherlands takes action on violence against women and domestic violence

The Dutch Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg has today signed the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With this move, the Netherlands is sending a clear signal that violence against women and domestic violence are unacceptable.

Violence against women and domestic violence is an extensive problem in all the Council of Europe’s member states. Each year in the Netherlands an estimated 1 million people are subjected to occasional domestic violence. A further 200,000 to 230,000 experience habitual domestic abuse. In more than two-thirds of all cases, the violence is committed by partners or ex-partners. Most victims are female. Women are also much more likely to experience sexual violence than men.

By signing the Convention, countries are showing that combating domestic violence is a priority. The safety of victims will be improved and access to justice guaranteed. The convention also refers in detail to shelters, support services, and medical and legal assistance, and emphasises the importance of awareness-raising. This is the first human rights convention to ban discrimination on the grounds of gender identity.

The Council of Europe opened the convention for signature and ratification in May 2011. The convention has not yet entered into force; it must first be ratified by ten countries. In the Netherlands’ case, parliament still needs to approve ratification.

Combating violence against women and domestic violence is a priority not only in Dutch human rights policy abroad, but also in the Netherlands. One example of this is the national campaign ‘Domestic violence won’t stop by itself’ launched recently by the Ministries of Health, Welfare & Sport and Security & Justice.