What makes domestic violence legislation more effective?

What makes domestic violence legislation more effective?

This policy paper, developed as part of the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment programme, considers four key questions:

• What is domestic violence and how is it manifested
• What role has women’s organising played in confronting domestic violence?
• What should domestic violence legislation encompass?
• What are the major issues to address to guarantee the effectiveness of laws on domestic violence?

The paper draws on several pieces of research conducted by Pathways partners, particularly the Observatory for Monitoring the Implementation of Maria da Penha Law (OBSERVE) in Brazil, but also from partners in Bangladesh, Egypt and Ghana. The paper presents four policy messages:

• Domestic violence is multi-faceted, complex and devastating to women. It demands appropriate legislation to confront it and remove pressure from the victims.
• Women’s organising is vital for publicising the harmful nature of domestic violence and for formulating and monitoring domestic violence legislation. Donors should support feminist organisations and initiatives to confront domestic violence.
• Comprehensive legislation packages are needed to confront domestic violence against women. They should include punitive, protective and preventative measures and provisions for the monitoring of legislation implementation.
• Effectiveness of domestic violence legislation depends on appropriate training of all service providers, cross-agency coordination, public opinion support, monitoring of policies by civil society organisations, and adequate budgets at all levels.

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