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

Forced and Child Marriage

Last edited: October 30, 2010

This content is available in


1996 United Nations Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, a framework for model legislation on domestic violence, E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.2, 1996.


African Union, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights On The Rights Of Women In Africa, 11 July 2003. http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/Documents/Treaties/Text/Protocol%20on%20the%20Rights%20of%20Women.pdf


Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Negotiating Culture: Intersections of Culture and Violence Against Women in Asia Pacific, 2006. http://www.apwld.org/pdf/NegotiatingCulture.pdf


Belgium, Marriages of Convenience Act, 1999.


Buckland v. Buckland (1965)


Bushey, Claire, Age of Consent Muddles Law on Marriage vs. Rape, Women’s E News, 7 June 2007. http://www.womensenews.org/story/the-courts/070607/age-consent-muddles-law-marriage-vs-rape


Seiler, Naomi, Is Teen Marriage a Solution, Center for Law and Social Policy, 2002. http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications_archive/files/0087.pdf


Carlson, Khristopher and Dyan Mazurana, Forced Marriage within the Lord's Resistance Army, Uganda, May 2008.


CENWOR, http://www.cenwor.lk/, 2009.


Convention on Certain Questions relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws, 1930. http://www.coe.int/t/e/legal_affairs/legal_co-operation/foreigners_and_citizens/nationality/documents/legal_instruments/Conv%20conflict%20nationality%20The%20Hague%2004_1930.pdf


CORE GAD, Philippines (ESCAP paper, p. 6).


Council of Europe, Forced Marriages in Council of Europe Member States, 2005. http://www.coe.int/T/E/Human_Rights/Equality/PDF_CDEG%282005%291_E.pdf


Council of Europe, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 2003. http://www.echr.coe.int/nr/rdonlyres/d5cc24a7-dc13-4318-b457-5c9014916d7a/0/englishanglais.pdf


Council of Europe, European Social Charter, 1961. http://www.coe.int/T/DGHL/Monitoring/SocialCharter/


Council of the European Union, Council Directive 2003/86/EC, 22 September 2003. http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2003:251:0012:0018:EN:PDF


Croatia, Marriage and Family Relationships Act, 2003.


Economic Commission for Europe, Work Session on Gender Statistics, 2006. http://www.unece.org/stats/documents/2006.09.gender.htm


ECPAT, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes: A Training Guide, 2006. http://www.ecpat.net/EI/Publications/Trafficking/Trafficking_TrainingGuide_ENG.pdf


Electronic Privacy Information Center, retrieved 2009. http://epic.org/privacy/tools.html


Ellsberg M, and Heise L, Researching Violence Against Women: A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists, World Health Organization, PATH; 2005. http://www.path.org/files/GBV_rvaw_front.pdf


Estonia, Civil Code, 1996. http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/5704

European Parliamentary Assembly, Domestic Slavery: Servitude, Au Pairs and Mail-Order Brides, Council of Europe, 2004. http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/doc04/EDOC10144.htm


European Parliamentary Assembly, Explanatory Memorandum, Council of Europe, Section II.A.1.b.16-17, 2005. http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc05/EDOC10590.htm#P175_20729


European Parliamentary Assembly, Forced marriages and Child Marriages, 2005. http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc05/EDOC10590.htm


European Parliamentary Assembly, Recommendation 1723 “Forced Marriages and Child Marriages”, Council of Europe, 2005. http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/AdoptedText/ta05/EREC1723.htm


European Parliamentary Assembly, Resolution 1468 “Forced Marriages and Child Marriages”, Council of Europe, 2005.


European Parliamentary Assembly, Resolution 1662, Council of Europe, 2009. http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta09/ERES1662.htm


European Roma Rights Centre, ERRC Statement Concerning Recent Events Surrounding Romanian Romani Wedding, 2003. http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=328


European Union, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 7 December, 2007. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf


European Union, Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls and Combating all Forms of Discrimination Against Them, 2008. http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/violence/Documents/EU%20guidelines%20VAW.pdf


France, Framework Justice Act, 2002.


France, Reform Act, 1990.


Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing Platform for Action, A/CONF.177/20, 15 September 1995. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/pdf/BDPfA%20E.pdf


Gbedemah, Hilary Amesika, Voices of African Women, retrieved 2009. http://voiceofafricanwomen.com/


Ghana, Children’s Act of 1998, 1998. http://www.law.yale.edu/rcw/rcw/jurisdictions/afw/ghana/Ghana_Childrens_Act.pdf


Ghana, Criminal Code Art. 109.


Global Rights, Conditions, Not Conflict: Promoting Women’s Human Rights in the Maghreb through Strategic Use of the Marriage Contract, 2008. http://www.globalrights.org/site/DocServer/Conditions_not_Conflict_Marriage_Contract.pdf?docID=10183


Goldfarb, Sally F., The Legal Response to Violence against Women in the United States of America: Recent Reforms and Continuing Challenges, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2008. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/vaw_legislation_2008/expertpapers/EGMGPLVAW%20Paper%20(Sally%20Goldfarb).pdf


Guatemala, Law against Femicide and other Forms of Violence against Women, 2008.

H. v. H. (1954)


Hirani v. Hirani (1982)


Hossain, Sara, and Turner, Suzanne, Abduction for Forced Marriage ñ Rights and Remedies in Bangladesh and Pakistan, 2001. http://www.soas.ac.uk/honourcrimes/FMarticleHossain.htm

Human Rights Watch, Reconciled to Violence: State Failure to Stop Domestic Abuse and Abduction of Women in Kyrgyzstan, 2006. http://www.hrw.org/en/node/11145/section/1


India, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/details.asp?id=152


India, Prevention of Offences (by Acids) Act (draft bill), 2008. http://ncw.nic.in/PDFFiles/OFFENCES_BY_ACIDS.pdf


Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women, 33 I.L.M. 1534, 1994. http://www.oas.org/cim/english/convention%20violence%20against%20women.htm


International Center for Research on Women, Too Young to Wed: Education and Action Toward Ending Child Marriage: Advocacy Toolkit, 2006. http://www.icrw.org/docs/2006_cmtoolkit/cm_all.pdf


International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ending Child Marriage: A Guide for Global Policy Action, 2006. http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/publications/2006/endchildmarriage.pdf


Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Marriage Vows Not Always Enough in Tajikistan, 2009. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,,,TJK,4562d8cf2,498703ccc,0.html


Ireland, Family Law Act, 1995.


Jain, Saranga and Kathleen Kurz, New Insights on Preventing Child Marriage, ICRW, 2007. http://www.icrw.org/publications/new-insights-preventing-child-marriage


Kansas Setting Minimum Marriage Age: 15, Associated Press, 5 May 2006. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12644597/


Legislationline, Poland, retrieved 2009. http://legislationline.org/topics/country/10/topic/7/subtopic/57


Macedonia, Criminal Code, 2004. http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/5830.


Mexico, Law on Access of Women to a Life Free of Violence, 2007.


Ministry for Social and Family Affairs, Active against Forced Marriage. http://www.movisie.nl/onderwerpen/huwelijksdwang/Docs/Active_Against_Forced_Marriage.pdf


Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, The Government Response to Domestic Violence Against Refugee and Immigrant Women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area: A Human Rights Report, 2004. http://www.advrights.org/sites/608a3887-dd53-4796-8904-997a0131ca54/uploads/FINAL_REPORT_Dec_10_2004_2.pdf


Mishra, Yamini, et. Al., Negotiating Culture: Intersections of Culture and Violence Against Women in Asia Pacific, 2006.


National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, The Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, USA. http://toolkit.ncjrs.org/


Nepal, Gender Equality Bill 2063, 2007.


Newham Asian Women’s Project, Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 Relevant Third Party, 2008. http://www.nawp.org/NAWP_FM_COURT_RULES_Submission_April%202008_FIN.pdf


Norway, Act 47 of 4 July 1991, 1991. http://www.regjeringen.no/en/doc/Laws/Acts/the-marriage-act.html?id=448401


Norway, Action Plan on Forced Marriages, 2008. http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/BLD/Planer/2007/Tvangsekteskap_engelsk2007.pdf


Norway, New rules for entering into marriage outside Norway, 2007. http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/BLD/Veiledning%20og%20brosjyrer/2007/brosjyre_om_nye_regler_i_ekteskapsloven_2007.pdf


Norway, Penal Code, 2003. http://www.ub.uio.no/ujur/ulovdata/lov-19020522-010-eng.pdf


NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Public Benefits access to Battered Immigrant Women and Children, retrieved 2009. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=3&ved=0CBUQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalimmigrationproject.org%2FDVPage%2FPUBLIC_BENEFITS_brochure.doc&ei=UDMUS5jzJcPinAf4l5zHAw&usg=AFQjCNGG9lZUCUoAFXEDq0TQJlw4_qal_Q&sig2=yhGR08MNuW-mm3yUF8-3Bw


Organization of African Unity, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 11 July 1990, CAB/LEG/24.9/49, 1990. http://www.africa-union.org/official_documents/Treaties_%20Conventions_%20Protocols/A.%20C.%20ON%20THE%20RIGHT%20AND%20WELF%20OF%20CHILD.pdf


Pakistan, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2004.


Philippines, International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, 1990.


Polisi, Caroline Johnston, Spousal Rape Laws Continue to Evolve, Womens E News, 1 July 2009. http://www.womensenews.org/story/our-story/090701/spousal-rape-laws-continue-evolve


Population Council, Berhane Hewan: Supporting Married and Unmarried Girls in Rural Ethiopia, 2004-2008. http://www.popcouncil.org/projects/TA_EthiopiaBerhane.html


Prosecutor vs. Brima, Kamara and Kanu, AFRC Trial Judgment,  20 June 2007. http://www.scsl.org/CASES/ProsecutorvsBrimaKamaraandKanuAFRCCase/TrialChamberJudgment/tabid/173/Default.aspx


Emma Ratia and Anne Walter, International Exploration on Forced Marriages: A study on legal initiatives, policies and public discussions in Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, 2009.


Raising Voices, www.raisingvoices.org/, 2009.

Sierra Leone, Registration of Customary Marriages and Divorce Act, 2007. http://www.sierra-leone.org/Laws/2009-01.pdf

Slavery, Servitude, Forced Labour and Similar Institutions and Practices Convention of 1926 (Slavery Convention of 1926), 60 L.N.T.S. 253, 9 March, 1927. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/slavetrade.htm#wp1034251

South Africa, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (No. 32), 2007. http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=10631&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=1207


South Africa, Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998.


StopVAW, http://www.stopvaw.org/, retrieved 2009.


Sundari, Anitha, Neither Safety Nor Justice: The UK Government Response to Domestic Violence against Immigrant Women, 20 Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law 189, 2008.


Szechter v. Szechter (1970)


Terrafem, retrieved 2009. http://www.terrafem.org/start.asp?laid=6


Tozer, James, Spared Jail, the Forced Marriage Case Father Told Wife, : ‘I’ll Cut Out Your Tongue’, DailyMail Online, 19 November 2009. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1228934/Muslim-father-staged-hate-campaign-daughter-arranged-marriage-given-lifetime-restraining-order.html.


United Kingdom, Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act, 2004. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2004/ukpga_20040028_en_1


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act, 2007. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2007/ukpga_20070020_en_1


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage Statutory Guidance: Consultation Paper, http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/ur/pdf/FM-consultation


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage Unit Action Plan, 2009. http://uk.sitestat.com/fcoweb/fcogov/s?fco.en.global-issues.human-rights.forced-marriage-unit.p.pdf.fmu-action-plan&ns_type=pdf&ns_url=http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/word/doc1/fmu-action-plan


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage Unit, Forced Marriage Case Handling Guide for MPs and Constituency Offices, 2009. http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/3849543/fmu-guide-mps.pdf


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage Unit, Materials for Public Education, retrieved 2009.


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage Unit, Multi-agency Practice Guidelines: Handling cases of Forced Marriage, 2009. http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/3849543/forced-marriage-guidelines09.pdf


United Kingdom, Forced Marriage Unit, The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance for dealing with forced marriage. http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/3849543/forced-marriage-right-to-choose


United Kingdom, Ministry of Justice, Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007

Guidance for local authorities as relevant third party and information relevant to multi-agency partnership working, November 2009. http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/docs/forced-marriage.pdf


United Kingdom, Ministry of Justice, One year On, November 2009.  http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/10508.htm


United Kingdom, Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973, 1973. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1973/cukpga_19730018_en_2#pt1-pb2-l1g12


United Nations, 1999 Concluding Observations on Nepal’s periodic report, CEDAW  A/54/38/Rev.1, 1999. http://www.bayefsky.com/pdf/nepal_t4_cedaw.pdf


United Nations, Addendum on Developing Transnational Indicators on Violence Against Women to Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, 25 February 2008, A/HRC/7/6/, p. 12-13. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/7session/A.HRC.7.6.Add.5.pdf


United Nations, Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), United Nations General Assembly, 1979. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm


United Nations, Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, General Assembly resolution 1763 A (XVII), 7 November 1962. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/convention.htm


United Nations, Convention on the Rights of a Child, General Assembly resolution 44/25, 20 November 1989. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm


United Nations, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, General Assembly A/RES/48/104, 1993. http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(symbol)/a.res.48.104.en


United Nations, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, General Assembly Resolution 2200A [XX1],16 December 1966. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/b3ccpr.htm


United Nations, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, General Assembly, 15 November 2000. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/protocoltraffic.htm


United Nations, Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, 226 U.N.T.S. 3, April 30, 1957.


United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71, 1948. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/


United Nations Children’s Fund, Adolescence: A Time That Matters, 2002. http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/pub_adolescence_en.pdf


United Nations Children’s Fund, Early Marriage: A Harmful Traditional Practice, 2005. http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Early_Marriage_12.lo.pdf


United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Report of the Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting to Review and Update the Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, March 2009. http://www.unodc.org/documents/eastasiaandpacific/2009/03/IGE/IEGM_report.pdf


United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Aspects of the Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Sigma Huda, E/CN.4/2006/62, 20 February 2006. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/48abd53dd.html


United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation 19, 1992. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/recommendations/recomm.htm


United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for the Advancement of Women, Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women, 2009. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/vaw/v-handbook.htm.


United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, retrieved 2009. http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/home.action


United Nations Economic and Social Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences: A Framework for Model Legislation on Domestic Violence, E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.2, 1996.


United Nations Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, Yakin Ertürk : indicators on violence against women and State response, A/HRC/7/6, 29 January 2008. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/47cd6c442.html


United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Fact Sheet No. 23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, August 1995.  http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/479477410.html


United Nations Secretary-General, In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women, 2006. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/vaw/SGstudyvaw.htm


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Handbook on Marriage Registration, retrieved 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/hb_marr.pdf


U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 2410). http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c111:2:./temp/~c111sGs4p5::


USA, International Marriage Broker Act, 2005. http://www.glin.gov/download.action?fulltextId=157279&documentId=190652&searchDetails.queryType=ALL&newSubjectTerm=&searchDetails.subjectTerms=&searchDetails.queryString=international+marriage+broker+act&searchDetails.showSummary=true&searchDetails.publica


USA, Kansas Statutes Annotated § 23-106(c)(1) and (2), 2006. http://kansasstatutes.lesterama.org/Chapter_23/Article_1/23-106.html


USA, Minnesota Statute 517.02, 2009. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=517.02


USA, Utah Code Ann. §76-7-101(1), 2009. http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE76/TITLE76.htm


USA, Utah Code Ann. §30-1-4.5., 2009. http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE76/TITLE76.htm


We Can Regional Campaign Secretariat, We Can End All Violence against Women Campaign, 2009. http://www.wecanendvaw.org/


Women for Women’s Human Rights – New Ways, Turkish Civil and Penal Code Reforms from a Gender Perspective: The Success of Two Nationwide Campaigns, 2005. http://www.wwhr.org/files/CivilandPenalCodeReforms.pdf


World Health Organization, Putting Women First: Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Research on Domestic Violence Against Women, 2001. http://www.who.int/gender/violence/en/womenfirtseng.pdf


World Health Organization and UNFPA, Married Adolescents: No Place of Safety, 2007. http://www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/documents/9241593776/en/index.html