Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women

The Convention creates the possibility of setting common minimum standards in Europe for the protection of women against specific violence.


Since the 1990s, the Council of Europe has been implementing initiatives to protect women from violence, including the preparation of recommendations and the implementation of a Europe-wide campaign. In December 2008, the Council of Europe's Council of Ministers finally set up an international group of experts and experts to develop a draft convention covering all forms of violence against women. Austria also participated in the negotiations of the treaty text.

The Istanbul Convention

On 11 May 2011, the "Convention of the Council of Europe on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence" was signed by 13 countries, including Austria, in Istanbul, and therefore carries the title "Istanbul Convention".

Thus, for the first time a legally binding instrument was created for Europe to effectively combat all forms of violence against women. Countries that have ratified the Convention, as has done Austria, are obliged to implement the Convention.

Austria has already ratified the Convention on 14 November 2013, which finally entered into force on 1 August 2014.

Main Regulations

The Convention contains far-reaching regulations as to the prevention of violence against women, the protection of victims and effective prosecution. The obligations include, among other things, measures for raising awareness, creating adequate aid facilities, prosecuting violence and providing support to victims during criminal proceedings.

The rules include all forms of gender-based violence against women, physical, mental and sexual violence - as well as all appearances of violence, such as domestic violence, stalking, forced marriages and female genital mutilation.

The Convention places particular focus on domestic violence and requests application of the relevant rules also to children and men. As an important prerequisite for effective protection, the Convention also calls for the legal and factual equality of women in society.

Review of implementation

A committee of international experts, known as GREVIO (Group of Experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence), is reviewing compliance and draws conclusions. On the basis of these conclusions, the Committee of Parties, composed of those countries which have already ratified the Convention, may make recommendations to the country concerned and set a deadline for their implementation.


Austria and Monaco are the first 2 countries to be subjected to a thorough review, which started in March 2016.

The following reports and opinions are available already:

  • Austria´s Report to GREVIO (August 2016)
  • GREVIO´s Report on Austria (July 2017)
  • Austria´s Comments on GREVIO´s Report (August 2017)
  • Recommendation on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence by Austria (January 2018)

As a last step, the Committee of Parties may make final recommendations to Austria.

Documents - Convention text and reports