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

Regional Treaties

Last edited: December 09, 2010

This content is available in


The following are selected examples of regional legal instruments which provide a foundation for the right of women and girls to be free of violence.

The American peoples have acknowledged the dignity of the individual, and their national constitutions recognize that juridical and political institutions, which regulate life in human society, have as their principal aim the protection of the essential rights of man and the creation of circumstances that will permit him to achieve spiritual and material progress and attain happiness

It declares in Article I that “[e]very human being has the right to life, liberty and the security of his person.” In Article V, it states that “[e]very person has the right to the protection of the law against abusive attacks upon his honor, his reputation, and his private and family life.”  Article XVIII also states that “[e]very person may resort to the courts to ensure respect for his legal rights.”

  • Article 3 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of Belém do Para) (1994) states that women have “the right to be free from violence in both public and private spheres.” Article 4(g) declares that a woman has the right “to simple and prompt recourse to a competent court for protection against acts that violate her rights…” Under Article 7, states parties must exercise due diligence to prosecute, punish and prevent such violence, and “…include in their domestic legislation penal, civil, administrative and any other type of provisions that may be needed to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women and to adopt appropriate administrative measures where necessary…”

See:  Second Hemispheric Report on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention, Organization of American States (OAS) and Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI), 2012.

To enact and, where necessary, reinforce or amend domestic legislation to prevent violence against women, to enhance the protection, healing, recovery and reintegration of victims/survivors, including measures to investigate, prosecute, punish and where appropriate rehabilitate perpetrators, and prevent re-victimisation of women and girls subjected to any form of violence, whether in the home, the workplace, the community or society or in custody…

12 Steps to Comply with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention).

Watch a video here about the Istanbul Convention as an important complement to the international legal framework on violence against women.

For more information on the international and regional legal and policy instruments and jurisprudence which provide the framework for legislation on violence against women, see: