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Civil lawsuits

Some harmful practices may be recognized as an injury that gives rise to civil liability. 

Civil lawsuits are a valuable supplement or alternative to criminal prosecution, civil protection orders, and other available legal remedies. Depending on the facts of the case and the law of the jurisdiction, the forms of relief available to successful plaintiffs in civil lawsuits may include compensatory damages, punitive damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and a court order requiring the defendant to pay the prevailing plaintiff’s attorney fees. In many legal systems, civil actions have advantages over criminal actions. Civil cases are governed by a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, complainants/survivors have control over the action, and some complainants/survivors consider the types of relief granted in a successful civil lawsuit more helpful than incarceration of the perpetrator. (UN Handbook, 3.12)

  • Legislation should allow civil lawsuits against perpetrators of harmful practices. 
  • Legislation should abolish any obstacles that prevent girls or their parents or guardians, or women from bringing civil lawsuits against a family member who is a perpetrator. 
  • Legislation should abolish any requirement that the consent of a husband or other family member be obtained in order to bring a civil lawsuit. 
  • Legislation should allow survivors/complainants to bring civil lawsuits against governmental or non-governmental parties for not exercising due diligence to prevent, investigate or punish harmful practices. 
  • Legislation should allow survivors/complainants to bring civil lawsuits on the basis of anti-discrimination laws, human rights provisions, or civil rights laws.