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PSSE position on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention

As an association of therapists involved in providing support and therapy for adults and children, as well as eliminating the consequences of traumatic injuries (including those related to domestic violence), Polish Society for Somatic Experiencing® supports Blue Line (Emergency Centre for Domestic Violence Victims) appeal to the Prime Minister regarding the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by Poland.

PSSE Management Board

more information at: https://www.niebieskalinia.pl/6789-apel-w-sprawie-konwencji-stambulskiej


We, the undersigned, as well as organizations providing support and assistance to people affected by domestic violence, appeal to the Polish Prime Minister to stop any activities leading to termination of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Such activities were recently publicly announced by the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy Marlena Maląg.

In the face of news about the content and significance of the Convention emerging in the public sphere, we regretfully state that they do not refer directly to the Convention, distort its meaning and reduce violence against women to the level of a political dispute.

Meanwhile, our everyday professional practice confirms the need for the State’s unequivocal attitude against violence.

Any suggestion to justify such violence automatically becomes its source.

Article 12.5 the Convention states that “Parties shall ensure that culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” shall not be considered as justification for any acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.” This passage seems to be the basis for the Council of Ministers representatives and the Convention critics to terminate it, specifically the fragment indicating religion as an element justifying violence. We hereby would like to emphasize that:

  1. The Convention does not specify one particular religion, but covers any religion that justifies or might justify violence in the future;
  2. We are not aware of any case where Poland recognized any religion as justification for acts of violence;
  3. Terminating the Convention will, for a part of our society, send a signal that Poland does not want to and will not comply with basic standards of protection against violence against women, including domestic violence;
  4. Introducing legislative solutions required by the Convention and striving to terminate it at the same time will not be sufficient to protect violence victims, as any prevention cannot be effective without defining and indicating the source of the problem;
  5. Applying the Convention to domestic violence victims constitutes a state declaration of protection and safety. Terminating the Convention will be perceived as state consent to violence.

Bearing in mind the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Polish victims of violence, we call for the fastest possible response to our appeal and public assurance that Poland will not denounce the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.