See also the Justice Sector Module.
The UN Handbook sets forth basic obligations for prosecutors with regard to cases of violence against women. Legislation should:
(See: UN Handbook)
Drafters must ensure that crimes involving widow maltreatment are not treated less seriously than other crimes. Legislation should state that ex officio prosecution is exercised in all cases of violence against widows, many of whom may lack the resources to initiate a prosecution claim themselves. For example, in the law of Austria, ex officio prosecution is exercised at all levels of injury in cases of violence. (See: UN Handbook, 3.8.2)
Legislation should require prosecutors to ensure that all available evidence has been collected by the police investigating body. By relying primarily on the evidence collected by the police rather than the victim’s testimony, prosecutors may be able to reduce the risk of retaliation by an abuser and increase the likelihood of a successful prosecution.
Legislation should mandate that prosecutors investigate the level of risk to widows in maltreatment cases and consider appropriate protective measures in cases of high risk. (See: Section on Lethality or Risk Assessment, Domestic Violence) Other agencies of the criminal justice system, including police and judges, should also assess the level of risk to widows.
Legislation should require that prosecutors keep the complainant/survivors informed of the upcoming legal proceedings and their rights therein, including all of the court support systems in place to protect them.
Legislation should include a pro-prosecution policy in cases where there is probable cause that violence against the widow has occurred. This will ensure that the violence is treated seriously by prosecutors and allow complainant/survivors to retain some agency about the decision. See: UN Handbook, 3.8.3
(See: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls, Harmful Traditional Practices, Honour Crimes, Implementation of Laws on Violence against Women and Girls)
Previous Topic Roles of Judges