Duties of Prosecutors
last updated October 2014

InIn partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women's Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at www.endvawnow.org.

The UN Handbook sets forth minimum recommendations with regard to the duties of prosecutors in prosecuting cases of violence against women:

  • Establish that responsibility for prosecuting these cases lies with prosecution authorities, not victims;
  • Require that victims, at all relevant stages of the legal process, be promptly and adequately informed, in a language they understand of:
    • Their rights,
    • Details of the relevant legal proceedings,
    • Available services, support mechanisms and protective measures,
    • Opportunities for obtaining restitution and compensation through the legal system,
    • Details of their case’s proceedings, such as hearings,
    • Release of the perpetrator from pre-trial detention or from jail, and
  • Require that any prosecutor who discontinues a case of violence against women explain to the victim why the case was dropped.
Where states have not created a specific offence of forced marriage, drafters should ensure that these duties are still applicable to other crimes perpetrated in the course of forcing someone to marry, such as rape, sexual crimes, kidnapping, child abduction, false imprisonment, assault, battery, threats of violence or death, breach of the peace or conduct that disrupts the public order, harassment, child abuse, blackmail, and violations of protection orders.

Tools for Prosecutors:

    Presentation by Nazir Ofbal, UK Crown Prosecution Service, Presentation at the Second Annual Conference on Honor Violence and Forced Marriage (2012).

    Interactive Website on Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage (UK Crown Prosecution Service).

    Honor Violence and Forced Marriage Training Curriculum (Powerpoint) (Webinar video) (The Aha Foundation, 2011). 

    CPS Pilot Study on Forced Marriage and So-Called ‘Honor’ Crime—Findings (2008). Available in English.

    CPS Recommendations on Future Work on Forced Marriage and So-Called “Honour” Crime (2008). Available in English.


For more information see also Justice Sector.