Definition of Violence Against Women

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2007 National Women's Conference
26 October 2006
Carried as Amended

Research at national and international level has consistently shown that domestic violence is a form of gender specific violence. Violence against women is a violation of internationally guaranteed human rights, rights which the United Kingdom (UK) has signed up to, such as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action, and which are included in UK law under the Human Rights Act 1998.

There is no statutory definition of violence against women or statutory definition of domestic violence in any of the legal systems, which govern the UK. This gives the court system discretion as to what they can determine violence against women and domestic violence to be. Conference believes that domestic violence should be considered as forming part of the continuum of violence against women and that at the very least we should have a general definition of domestic violence.

Conference welcomes the work of the Rights of Women in urging the government to enact a statutory definition of violence against women which includes domestic violence or at the very least a general definition of domestic violence.

The Rights of Women strongly recommend the adoption of the definition of violence against women contained within the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, under which “violence against women” means ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’ (Article 1).

Conference instructs the National Women’s Committee to work with the Rights of Women and other agencies such as Women’s Aid to consider a joint approach to:

1)develop a campaigning strategy to urge the government to enact a statutory definition of violence against women or in the alternative a general definition of domestic violence;

2)the development and production of a leaflet or booklet to raise awareness of the issues, for distribution to all branches and members;

3)work with the National Executive Council and Labour Link to encourage support union-wide;

4)report back to National Women’s Conference 2008 on progress.