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
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Other provisions related to dowry-related and domestic violence laws
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Time limits on protection orders

Last edited: January 05, 2011

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Legislation should provide that protection orders may be left in place for a minimum of one year.

Ideally, a protection order should be left in place permanently, and only terminated by a finding by a court, based on clear evidence, that there is no longer any danger to the complainant/survivor. That way, a complainant/survivor does not have to appear in court and possibly confront her abuser on a regular basis. The law should state that the termination of a protection order must be the responsibility of the court.

The law of Minnesota, USA, allows protection orders to be extended for up to 50 years under certain conditions:

Relief granted by the order for protection may be for a period of up to 50 years, if the court finds: (1) the respondent violated a prior or existing order for protection on two or more occasions; or (2) the petitioner has had two or more orders for protection in effect against the same respondent. Subd. 6a (b)

Examples: The  Law of India states that a protection order shall be in force until the complainant/survivor applies for discharge, or until the Mmagistrate, upon receipt of an application from the complainant/survivor or the respondent, is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances, requiring alteration, modification or revocation of the protection order.  The Magistrate must record such a decision in writing. Ch. IV, 25.

Under the Law of Zimbabwe a protection order is valid for a minimum period of five years unless revoked or varied by the court upon an application by the applicant, applicant’s representative or the respondent. The law requires prior notice and a hearing for adjudication of the application. The applicant or applicant’s representative also may apply to have the protection order extended for up to an additional 24 months. Sections 11(2), 12.