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
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Absent victim prosecution

Last edited: February 28, 2011

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  • Legislation should provide for the possibility for prosecution of appropriate cases despite the inability or unwillingness of the complainant/survivor to testify. This approach ensures the safety of the complainant/survivor yet offers the support of the criminal justice system. (See: UN Handbook, 3.9.5) Legislation should require prosecutors to consider all evidence in a case that might support or corroborate the statement of the complainant/survivor, including evidence of a history of abuse.
  • Legislation should address dowry deaths where the victim is deceased and provide for the admissibility of and guidelines governing dying declarations these cases. For example, India’s Evidence Act allows written or verbal statements of relevant facts by a person who is dead, cannot be located, or is incapable of giving evidence as relevant facts in cases regarding cause of death:

When the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that person's death comes into question. Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question. (Article 32).     

  • Additionally, dying declarations may be admissible under Article 157, “Former statements of witness may be proved to corroborate later testimony as to same Fact:” In order to corroborate the testimony of a witness, any former statement made by such witness relating to the same fact, at about the time when the fact took place, or before any authority legally competent to investigate the fact, may be proved.”
    (See: Section on Duties of Police Officers; Section on Evidence)


Promising Practice: In Pushpawati v. State, (1986) 2 Cr LJ 1532, the victim of a dowry death made three dying declarations at her brother’s home, to a police officer in the hospital and to the sub-divisional magistrate. Although the second declaration failed to name the accused, the Delhi High Court found sufficient prima facie evidence that a homicide took place to deny the accused bail