Prime Minister David Cameron and his sidekick Nick Clegg pledged todayto sign the Council of Europe's Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence - a vow that failed to impress female activists.
Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg said the "unprecedented" agreement would help tackle the "utter scandal" of violence and domestic abuse suffered by millions of women.
The treaty, once enshrined in law, would mean that men accused of raping or assaulting women abroad could be put on trial in courts in Britain.
But campaigners warned that the Tory-led cuts had turned the clock back on women's safety and that it would take more than a signature on a piece of paper to protect them.
Services tackling domestic violence have seen their funding slashed by more than 30 per cent in recent months, with women fleeing domestic violence having to sleep on night buses and in internet cafes because there is no room in refuges.
"Women's rights are under unprecedented attack," warned Anna Bird of the Fawcett Society. "History will judge the early years of the 21st century as a tipping point in the fight for equality between women and men in the UK."