Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women enters in force

Bern, 27.03.2018 - The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) enters into force in Switzerland on 1 April. The Convention is the first binding instrument to apply throughout Europe protecting women and girls from all forms of violence, including domestic violence.

Violence against women and domestic violence are serious violations of human rights and they are widespread, including in Switzerland. In this country someone dies as a result of domestic violence every two weeks, and every week murder is attempted.

The aim of the Istanbul Convention is to introduce similar standards throughout Europe to prevent, combat and punish physical, emotional and sexual violence against women. This also applies to stalking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced abortion and forced sterilisation. The Convention covers a broad range of issues, from prevention, protection and victim support through to criminal prosecution. The Convention addresses all victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender.

Switzerland's existing legislation and measures at federal, cantonal and communal level already meet the vast majority of the Convention's requirements. One issue currently being examined is the improvement of the provision of telephone advisory services.

The Confederation and the cantons are responsible for implementing the Convention within the scope of their tasks and competences.

The Federal Office for Gender Equality FOGE coordinates the implementation of the Convention at national level, and reports regularly on the matter to the Council of Europe.

At cantonal level the Swiss Conference against Domestic Violence (Schweizerische Konferenz gegen Häusliche Gewalt SKHG) is tasked to coordinate matters by the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors CCJPD and the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Social Services CDSS. The cantons have wide-ranging services to implement the requirements, namely criminal prosecution services, victim support and adult and child protection authorities.

The FOGE is organising a national conference on the Istanbul Convention which will be held in Bern on 13 November.

Address for enquiries

Sabine Baumgartner
FOGE public relations officer
+41 58 46 329 31


Federal Department of Home Affairs

Federal Office for Gender Equality