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

Questions for security actors

Last edited: March 01, 2011

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Questions for government crime offices or statistics bureaus

  1. How many cases of domestic violence have been reported in the last 12 months? [or since the law was enacted; or other relevant time frame.  If the law has been in force for a number of years, the questions should be framed in terms of the last 12 months and then asked again about a number of years combined.]
  2. How many cases of domestic violence were reported by women?  By men?
  3. How many of these cases involved intimate partners?  How many involved other family members?
  4. How many orders for protection were requested in the last 12 months?  How many were granted?  How many were denied?
  5. How many orders for protection were withdrawn by the victim in the last 12 months?  How many were renewed? 
  6. How many orders for protection were violated in the last 12 months?  Of these cases, in how many instances were criminal charges brought against the perpetrator?  How many convictions resulted? 
  7. In the cases where a perpetrator was convicted of violating an order for protection, how many resulted in jail time for the perpetrator?  How many resulted in a fine for the perpetrator?
  8. How many cases of domestic violence resulted in charges being brought against a perpetrator in the last 12 months?  If a victim requested it, would the charge be withdrawn?  In how many of these cases were charges withdrawn?  How many convictions resulted from these cases?
  9. How many cases of domestic violence resulted in fatalities in the last 12 months? In the last (fill in) years?

Questions for police

As first responders to many cases of domestic violence, police are key players in the government response to domestic violence.  Police officers can give information about the priority the government gives cases of domestic violence and the government’s general attitude toward victims. In many countries, police are the only government representatives to see a case of violence.  How the police handle the case is often determinative of whether the woman obtains any legal remedy for the assault. 

The following are suggested questions for police officers when monitoring the government response to implementation of laws on domestic violence:

General questions:

  1. How many officers are in this police department?  What size (geographical, population) group does it serve? 
  2. What is your position in the department?  Can you briefly describe your duties and work? How long have you been working in your position?
  3. Can you estimate how often you are asked to respond to domestic violence calls on a weekly basis?
  4. Are you aware of (name of country’s domestic violence law)?


  1. What is the procedure for responding to a report of an assault in a private home between family members?  How do you refer to these kinds of assaults?  Is the procedure you follow for these kinds of assaults different from the procedure for other kinds of assaults?  Is the procedure you follow for domestic assaults different when you receive the report from a neighbor or someone else rather than the victim of the assault?
  2. When a woman comes to your police station and says that she is a victim of domestic violence, how do you respond?  Is there a group of officers within this department which specializes in handling cases of domestic violence?  Are there any female police officers in this group?
  3. Other than emergency calls, what other kinds of domestic violence situations are you asked to respond to?  What are the procedures for responding to these calls?
  4. Do you have a written protocol or policy on responding to domestic violence calls? Could we have a copy of the protocol?
  5. Please describe what you generally do when you are called to a domestic dispute. What do you do when you arrive on the scene?
  6. Do you have a protocol or procedures that govern interviewing the victim, the perpetrator, children, and witnesses? Do you use a standardized form to obtain information? What questions do you ask?   What exactly do you document?
  7. Do you ask about prior incidents of violence?
  8. How do you interview: 1) victim 2) perpetrator 3) children 4) witnesses? Do you interview these people separately?
  9. Do you ever remove an abusive person from the home?  If so, can you describe the circumstances?
  10. Where do you take the abuser?
  11. How long is he removed from the home?
  12. Do you file a police report?  Is there a clear procedure that you follow regarding police reports? Are you required to file a report?  What happens to that report?  What concerns do you have in filling out that report?  What if the woman does not want a report filed? Could we obtain a copy of a police report?
  13. If a woman does not want to prosecute her partner, do you initiate any investigation? What if the woman is seriously injured?
  14. What laws do you rely on when you arrest someone for assaulting their wife or intimate partner?
  15. What do you do if the woman is injured?  Do you assist her in finding medical help?  Do you give her information about any legal procedures which she may follow to obtain protection from the violent abuser?  Do you refer her to other services, such as domestic violence advocates, crisis centers, or medical services? How do you document her injuries?
  16. What do you tell the perpetrator?
  17. If the woman is visibly injured and she or her partner attributes her injuries to an accident, e.g. falling, do you follow up with further investigation about the cause of her injuries?  How?
  18. [In countries where there is an order for protection remedy]  Do you have an application for an immediate protection order that you give to victims if they want it?
  19. If a victim applies for an immediate protection order, how soon do you get the application to court?
  20. In between the time of the violence and the time at which the order for protection becomes effective, how do you ensure the victim’s safety if the perpetrator is not under arrest?
  21. Do you issue warnings to perpetrators?  Do you send police to the house where a domestic violence incident has occurred to keep an eye on it?
  22. Do the procedures that apply to domestic violence calls ever vary?  If so, under what circumstances?
  23. How do you identify whether psychological violence has taken place?
  24. How do you identify whether sexual violence has taken place?
  25. Is it sometimes difficult to tell who is the victim and who is the perpetrator?  What can make that determination difficult?  How do you decide who is at fault?
  26. Have you ever seen a situation in which a victim of domestic violence was also arrested, charged, or convicted of domestic abuse?  What happened?
  27. Have you ever encountered a situation in which the perpetrator seemed extremely dangerous?  What criteria do you use to assess for direct and immediate threat to life?  How do you assess for risk from further attacks? What action do you take in this situation?
  28. How long can you hold the perpetrator? Do you ever arrest the perpetrator? Under what circumstances? Do you notify the prosecutor?
  29. Are you often called to the same houses or families for incidents of domestic violence?  Are there other protocols or policies that you use for this kind of situation?  Do you keep records on families that have a history of domestic violence?


  1. Have you been called to a home because a perpetrator violated a protection order? How often? How did you respond?  Did you arrest?  Did you pass the report along to the prosecutor?
  2. Does the prosecutor take action if there is a violation of an order for protection?  Can you describe a case where this has happened?
  3. After the protection order is issued, what measures do you take to ensure the victim is protected? How do you cover the protected area from further aggressions?
  4. How do you respond if the victim allows the abuser into the home despite the order for protection?
  5. Can you describe how you work together with prosecutors on cases of domestic violence?
  6. If a victim of domestic violence proceeds through the court system without the assistance of a state prosecutor, what is your role?  Do you help her with the evidence?  Have you ever been asked to testify or provide evidence in a case like this?



  1. Do you believe that the laws are sufficient to protect domestic violence victims? Do you believe that the law is adequately enforced?
  2.  What are the good and bad things about implementing the law on domestic violence?  What would you change to improve the protection and services that are available to victims?
  3. How would you evaluate the response of judges to domestic violence under this law? How would you evaluate the response of prosecutors to domestic violence under this law?


  1. Can you describe a specific example of a case that involved domestic violence?
  2. Does your unit maintain internal statistics on domestic violence cases?
  3. Are there registers for filing information about past and current orders for protection and previous acts of domestic violence? Registers for information on perpetrators of domestic violence?
  4. Do you do preventative work in domestic violence cases?
  5. Have you received any training on how to respond to domestic violence calls?  Is this training ongoing?  By whom?
  6. What do you do if the victim or perpetrator does not speak your language?
  7. Do you coordinate in any ways with medical, legal or other service providers on your cases of domestic violence?  In what ways?
  8. How would you describe the level of coordination between the police, other groups, the medical and legal professional community, or the government?
  9. What is your perception of the need for stronger criminal protection against domestic violence? What is your assessment as to how the domestic violence law interrelates to the criminal laws?
  10. Is there anything else you think we should know about domestic violence in your country?
  11. Can you recommend other individuals or organizations for us to speak with?