This report clarifies the legal preconditions and legal impact of the possible accession of the EU to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). The first chapter of the report considers the evolution of human rights law concerning violence against women, the drafting and adoption of the Istanbul Convention, and the main features of the Convention. The second and third chapters of the report consider the Istanbul Convention in relation to EU law, and describe the positions of the 28 EU Member States concerning the Convention. The report is based on a comparative study of country reports submitted by the gender equality experts of the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination. Against the background of the political relevance of the Convention and the impact it can have on the life, health and safety of millions of women and girls in Europe, on 4th March 2016 the Commission has proposed the signature and conclusion of the Convention by the Union.