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

Regional Laws and Agreements

Last edited: January 25, 2011

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  • 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, adopted by the 2nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, Maputo, CAB/LEG/66.6 (Sept. 13, 2000); reprinted in 1 Afr. Hum. Rts. L.J. 40, entered into force Nov. 25, 2005. Article 4(g) obligates state parties to take appropriate and effective measures to “prevent and condemn trafficking in women, prosecute the perpetrators of such trafficking and protect those women most at risk.”



  • The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention), adopted by the Council of Europe and opened for signature in May 2011, obliges states to reform laws, implement practical measures to aid victims, and, importantly, allocate adequate resources for an effective response to violence against women and domestic violence. In addition states must involve all relevant actors in the implementation of the Istanbul Convention, including national parliaments and institutions and non-governmental and civil society organizations. While the Istanbul Convention does not specifically address trafficking in women and girls, it does address the additional forms of violence women and girls may face while being trafficked. Any nation can become a signatory of the Istanbul Convention. The Convention will enter into force once ten countries have ratified it. Eight of the ten ratifying countries must be Council of Europe member states. An ongoing list of signatures and ratifications can be found here. Available here in 28 languages.

12 Steps to Comply with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention).

  • The European Union passed Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing previous Council Framework Decision 2002/626/JHA addressing this issue. The directive takes a victim-centered approach and requires all member states to bring into force laws, regulations, and other provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by April 6, 2013.