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


Last edited: February 27, 2011

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Legislation should ensure all forms of widow maltreatment are criminalized and are non-compoundable. Legislation should ensure that widows have access to justice, equal protection of the law and prompt redress for the harm that they have suffered. (See: Roles and Responsibilities)

Drafters should ensure that criminal laws prohibiting the maltreatment of widows supersede customary laws and practices that condone or authorize these violations. Legislation should state that the payment of bride price is not a defense to any forms of maltreatment of widows.

Legislation should appropriately penalize and punish acts of violence against women carried out as intimidation or retribution. Such violence and harassment may include violence, threats including threats of bewitchment, acid attacks, stove burnings, forced evictions, demands for the return of bride price, interference with family relations, crimes against property, and “honour” crimes. Criminal legislation should also provide for criminal no contact orders, which are similar to civil orders for protection, and may be a part of the criminal process when a violent offender is accused of a crime. For example, (see: Domestic Abuse Act of Minnesota, (1979), Minnesota, §518B.01 Subd.22)