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
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Prohibition on the use of harmful traditional dispute resolution mechanisms

Last edited: January 26, 2011

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Laws continue to exist in many countries whereby a perpetrator of violence against women is absolved of his crime if he pays the victim or her family or marries the victim. These practices not only deny women victims/survivors justice but also constitute harmful practices in and of themselves. Such is the case with the practice of “payback rape” whereby men who are members of a tribe or family of a woman who has been raped, rape a woman from the tribe or family of the perpetrator as “payback.” Or instances of forced marriage where a woman who has been raped is forced to marry the perpetrator. 

Such harmful dispute resolution practices should be eliminated and should not preclude state prosecution. Legislation to eliminate harmful practices should:

  • require a full investigation and prosecution of harmful practices regardless of any settlements that the victim, her family and the offenders have reached;
  • place responsibility for prosecuting harmful practices with the prosecutor and not with the victim or her family (See: UN Handbook, p. 40);
  • require pro-arrest and pro-prosecution policies (See: UN Handbook, p. 41); and