MP to discuss impact of women against violence bill

Dr Eilidh Whiteford
Dr Eilidh Whiteford

SNP MP for Banff and Buchan Dr Eilidh Whiteford will return to the North East later this week to talk about her work at Westminster to pass a bill working to protect women against violence.

The politician tabled plans at the end of last year for the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill 2017.

Last month, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention passed through its final reading in the House of Commons.

Only days before actress and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson wrote to all MPs calling for them to back the Private Members’ Bill.

On Friday Dr Whiteford will be joined by councillors, local groups and senior pupils from nearby schools with an interest in politics, to hear about the process of putting the bill through parliament and what it will mean for women in the future.

The convention puts in place legal obligations on the state to prevent violence against women, protect women and prosecute the perpetrators.

Although the UK Government signed it four years ago it had not yet become part of UK law.

Dr Whiteford said: “I was delighted to put forward this ground-breaking bill in parliament last month.

“It will help women throughout the UK and across my constituency and has the potential to transform the lives of so many women.

“It is a powerful vehicle for improving policy, practices and services on an ongoing basis.

“I have heard many first-hand accounts from women who have experience gender based violence.

“The Istanbul Convention is so important because it encompasses a wide spectrum of sexual violence and domestic abuse which includes stalking, harassment, sexual assault and rape, physical abuse by a partner, forced marriage, forced abortion and female genital mutilation.

“I was delighted the bill had the cross-party support that it did and I look forward to discussing the impact this bill with have further on Friday.”

Aberdeenshire Councillor Alison Evison said: "Violence against women and domestic abuse can unfortunately appear in all our communities.

“As Chair of Aberdeenshire's Gender Based Violence group, I have got to know of the many groups supporting those affected.

“We are working together to raise awareness and to develop strategies to prevent this violence. We are delighted that Eilidh Whiteford is able to speak with us here."

The event will be held at St Mary’s Church Hall in Inverurie from 2-4pm.