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


Last edited: March 01, 2011

This content is available in


Adequate resources and services for those who are victims of violence are essential to implementing laws on violence against women. These services and resources often are mandated by the law itself. While awareness raising, education and the work of public officials and professionals help create the global and societal changes necessary to curb violence, individual victims will still require direct and personalized attention. Through specialized services women obtain the assistance and tools required to claim their right to a life free from violence. Services for victims also facilitate prosecution of offenders by providing support to the key witness – the victim herself.

The following general principles should be points of reference for all provision of services to victims of gender-based violence:

  • Promote the well-being, physical safety and economic security of victims/survivors and enable women to overcome the multiple consequences of violence to rebuild their lives;
  • Ensure that victims/survivors have access to appropriate services and that a range of support options are available that take into account the particular access needs of women facing multiple discrimination;
  • Ensure that service providers are skilled, gender-sensitive, have ongoing training and conduct their work in accordance with clear guidelines, protocols and ethics codes and, where possible, provide female staff;
  • Ensure accessibility of support to all women including those with disabilities, literacy, or language barriers;
  • Maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the victim/survivor;
  • Cooperate and coordinate with all other services for victims/survivors of violence
  • Monitor and evaluate the services provided;
  • Reject ideologies that excuse or justify men’s violence or blame victims; and
  • Empower women to take control of their lives.

See: UN Secretary-General’s In-depth Study on all Forms of Violence Against Women, 91 (2006).

Some of the major categories of victim services include:

  • Physical and mental health services;
  • Hotlines and helplines;
  • Short and long-term shelter;
  • Legal aid & court accompaniment; and
  • Economic empowerment.