In the European context, constitutional and legislative provisions as well as international conventions prohibits violence against women. Notably, in 2014 the Council of Europe (CoE) so-called Istanbul Convention entered into force, providing for a wide range of measures against specific crimes (such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, stalking, forced abortion, and forced sterilization) and for a monitoring mechanism (the so-called GREVIO). The proposed paper therefore examines the innovations the Convention introduced, i.e. the definitive ban of any possible cultural defense, but also the possible elements weakening its effectiveness. The role of the Convention is also assessed with reference to its influence on EU institutions and on domestic legal systems of the countries having ratified it. A specific focus on the Italian experience highlights the evolution of the domestic legislation and the impact of the Convention.