International Domestic Violence Law
last updated October 26, 2012
International law and policy on domestic violence has developed primarily through the work of the United Nations in treaties resolutions, and conferences. The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women also serves as an independent expert to the U.N. on issues encompassing domestic violence. These actors, along with activists around the world, have spent decades working to have domestic violence recognized as a violation of human rights, to raise awareness, conduct research, and promote education on the issue, and to establish state responsibility for private acts of domestic violence.  Through their efforts, there is now clear guidance that not only is domestic violence a violation of human rights, but that states have a responsibility to prevent violence against women in all its forms, protect women from violence, punish perpetrators of violence against women, and provide reparations to victims.
UN Treaties on Domestic Violence
Many treaties and conventions do not specifically mention domestic violence or violence against women, but they have still been interpreted as relevant to domestic violence. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention Against Torture. >>Learn more
UN Resolutions on Domestic Violence
The Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have adopted numerous resolutions that address violence against women, including the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Resolution 18/47, and many additional resolutions over the past few decades. >>Learn more
UN Conference Documents on Domestic Violence
The international community has come together to fight domestic violence at various international conferences, including the Conference in Copenhagen, the World Conference on Women in Nairobi, and the Beijing Conferences. The documents produced, while not binding, serve as important resources for establishing a consensus on ending domestic violence throughout the world. >>Learn more
Domestic Violence: Special Rapporteur
The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women plays a key role in helping to end domestic violent. The Special Rapporteur visits countries throughout the world, gathers information, reports to the UN Human Rights Council, and makes recommendations to governments and agencies. >>Learn more
State Responsibility for Domestic Violence
While traditionally, international law was seen as inapplicable to domestic violence because it is performed by individuals rather than governments of nations, in the past few decades, the development of the Due Diligence Standard has changed perspectives on the applicability of international law to the private sphere. >>Learn more