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

Sentencing provisions

Last edited: February 25, 2011

This content is available in


Legislation should provide for penalties of prison time and fines. Legislation should provide that sentencing guidelines reflect the gravity of the offense. 

Illustrative Examples:

A person who performs female genital mutilation on another person commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings, or both.

Penalties for offenses:
A person guilty of an offence under this Act is liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or a fine (or both),

(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).

  • United States, California:

The California Criminal Code makes it a felony to, under conditions likely to cause harm, willfully cause or allow the injury, pain or mental suffering of a child. If the harm is caused by FGM, however, the Code specifically states that the felony level penalties provided for will be increased by one year. 

California Penal Code, Section 273a(a)

(a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.

California Penal Code, Section 273.4

(a) If the act constituting a felony violation of subdivision (a) of Section 273a was female genital mutilation, as defined in subdivision (b), the defendant shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment in the state prison for one year, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed by Section 273a.

(b) "Female genital mutilation" means the excision or infibulation of the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, or vulva, performed for nonmedical purposes.