Legislation

Throughout this knowledge module, reference to certain provisions or sections of a piece of legislation, part of a legal judgment, or aspect of a practice does not imply that the legislation, judgment, or practice is considered in its entirety to be a good example or a promising practice.

Some of the laws cited herein may contain provisions which authorize the death penalty. In light of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/14963/16865/206, and 67/176 calling for a moratorium on and ultimate abolition of capital punishment, the death penalty should not be included in sentencing provisions for crimes of violence against women and girls.

Other Provisions Related to Domestic Violence LawsResources for Developing Legislation on Domestic Violence
Sexual Harassment in Sport Tools for Drafting Sexual Harassment Laws and Policies
Immigration Provisions Resources for developing legislation on sex trafficking of women and girls
Child Protection Provisions Resources on Forced and Child Marriage
Other provisions related to dowry-related and domestic violence laws
Related Tools

Child custody provisions in orders for protection

Last edited: March 01, 2011

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Legislation should include a provision that grants temporary custody of minor children to the non-violent parent. For example, the law of Bulgaria allows the court to do the following:

temporarily relocating the residence of the child with the parent who is the victim or with the parent who has not carried out the violent act as stake, on such terms and conditions and for such a period as is specified by the court, provided that this is not inconsistent with the best interests of the child. h 1, S. 5 (1) 4

The legislation should contain a presumption that visitation by the violent parent should be supervised, and should not occur if it is against the will of the child.  See: law of Spain; UN Handbook 3.10.8.2, and 3.13; and OFPs and Family Law Issues, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights.

For example, the law of Sierra Leone states that a protection order may contain:

(f)    a provision temporarily-

(i)    forbidding contact between the respondent and any child of the applicant;

(ii)   specifying that contact between the respondent and a child of the applicant, must take place only in the presence and under the supervision of a social worker or a family member designated by the court for that purpose; or

(iii)  allowing such contact only under specified conditions designed to ensure the safety of the applicant, any child who may be affected, and any other family members;
if the court is satisfied that that is reasonably necessary for the safety of the childin question;
Part III 15 (f) (See: law of Namibia)

Drafters should enact separate laws on child abuse rather than attempt to address it within the domestic violence legislative framework.  See United Nations Economic and Social Council, Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting to Review and Update the 1997 Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Report of the Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting to review and update the Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Bangkok, 23-25 March 2009, II 14 (d).