Good Practices in Legislation on Violence against Women
States are obligated under a comprehensive international legal and policy framework to address violence against women, including through the enactment of legislation. The first laws directly addressing domestic violence were passed in the United States of America and the United Kingdom in the 1970s and early 1980s, resulting in changes to criminal codes and the creation of separate laws containing the protection order remedy. Since the 1990s, many States have adopted or revised legislation on violence against women. These legal reforms have varied significantly in terms of the forms of violence they address, the type of action they mandate and the area of law (constitutional, civil, criminal, family) they reform. Some States have enacted legislation which addresses multiple forms of violence in a single piece of legislation. However, most legislation to date has addressed one or a few forms. Similarly, some States have enacted a single, comprehensive piece of legislation on violence against women, amending various legal codes and making provision for services and other preventative measures, while others have addressed the issue through incremental reforms. Some States have addressed violence against women in their Constitutions.