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

Timely and expedited proceedings

Last edited: February 28, 2011

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Legislation should require that legal proceedings occur on a timely basis. Experience has shown, however, that if proceedings are expedited too quickly, a complainant/survivor may withdraw if she feels that it is out of her control.

For example, in Spain, the Organic Act on Important Reviews of the Code of Criminal Procedure (2002) provided that court hearings in domestic violence cases should come before a judge within 15 days.  Some complainant/survivors withdrew from the process, suggesting that the speed of the court hearing might make the complainant/survivor feel they aren’t able to make decisions about their relationship at their own pace. (See UN Handbook, 3.9.2)


Example: Some governments have established special courts to help expedite proceedings in civil and criminal cases. The UK has domestic violence courts across the country to coordinate and improve the responses of police, prosecutors, court staff, the probation service and specialist support services. Criminal justice staff are trained in domestic violence, courts intentionally group cases together to focus resources for scheduling, and the courts provide Independent Domestic Violence Advisors for support. Bangladesh has established at least one Nari O Shishu Nirjaatan Daman Tribunal in each district to try offences under the Prevention of Oppression Against Women and Children Act 2000. (See: Specialized Domestic Violence Court Systems, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)