Analysis of Laws

Using decades of experience working to end violence against women, The Advocates for Human Rights carefully evaluates laws to ensure the laws contain the essential core elements to make them effective and workable. At the request of governments, IGOs, and civil society, we analyze and comment on domestic violence laws and sexual harassment legislation. For example, a strong domestic violence law provides for a civil order for protection remedy. Moreover, it criminalizes violations of such an order.

The Advocates also assesses laws to alert governments to harmful provisions that could place victims at greater risk of harm, or provisions that fail to hold offenders accountable. One provision laws may contain are articles allowing mediation in cases of domestic violence. Yet, mediation fails to take into account the power and control inherent in domestic violence. Mediation assumes that both parties are equal, yet an abuser holds tremendous power over a victim. The imbalance of power between the parties cannot be remedied despite the skills of the mediator, even when a victim advocate is present. Furthermore, the victim may be afraid and reluctant to voice her concerns.

We also provide technical assistance and consultation at international conferences for parliamentarians around the world. Highlights of this work include conferences hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Burkina Faso, India, Tanzania, and Ecuador. At the conferences, we presented best practices for legal reform on violence against women, as well as best practice standards on violence against women.

UN Women recognized The Advocates’ expertise on violence against women legislation, and requested The Advocates to write the legislation and justice modules for UN Women's Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls.

If your country is in the process of drafting or amending a law and would like The Advocates to comment on it, please contact Rosalyn Park, acting director of The Advocates' Women's Human Rights Program, at 612-746-4676, or rpark@advrights.org.