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: March 01, 2011

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  • Legislation should provide that medical or forensic evidence is not required for domestic violence convictions.  

  • Legislation should prevent the introduction of the survivor’s sexual history in both civil and criminal proceedings either during the trial or during the sentencing phase.
  • Legislation should state that a survivor, including a minor survivor, may receive a medical and forensic examination regardless of whether or not the survivor reports to law enforcement.  In countries with mandatory reporting laws, legislation should require mandatory reporters to provide a full explanation of laws and policies to the survivor when a report is required.
  • Legislation should state that the survivor, including a minor survivor, may be examined and treated by a forensic doctor or other medical practitioner without the consent of any other person.
  • Legislation should state when the survivor is referred for medical examination, the examination should be done at the expense of the state.
  • Legislation should allow the presentation of expert testimony on domestic violence. Jurors who are exposed to relevant social and psychological research on domestic violence are more likely to understand the dynamics of domestic violence, power and control tactics, and the dynamics of victimization. Experts could assist the court in explaining such victim actions as recantation, returning to an abuser, or demonstrating ambivalence about prosecution of an abuser
  • Legislation should provide that a court may not distinguish between the weight given to the testimony of a complainant in a domestic violence case and the weight given to the testimony of any other witnesses.
  • Legislation should allow for the admissibility of dying declarations as evidence and establish standard guidelines for recording a dying declaration. Police, medical professionals and judges should be trained and authorized to record a dying declaration from a dowry death victim. Corroboration of the dying declaration should not be required for admissibility.

Prompt complaint

Legislation should state that no adverse inference shall be drawn from a delay between the act of violence and the reporting of the act of violence. The judicial officer should be required by the legislation to so inform the jury.