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Home Articles A Worldwide View on Whats Being Done to Protect Partners

A Worldwide View on Whats Being Done to Protect Partners

A roundup of actions being taken to reduce intimate partner violence around the world—and what isn’t

A Worldwide View on Whats Being Done to Protect Partners

The United States and Canada are far from the only countries with a domestic violence epidemic. But we’re not the only ones trying to fix it either. Check out the latest steps being taken in other countries.

UN Women Advocates for Gender-Responsive Budgeting

As they say, money talks, and governments around the world have continually denied funding for anti-violence programs in favor of, well, just about anything else. But UN Women, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality, is looking to change that. 

The organization is advocating in 40 different countries for gender-responsive budgeting, a practice that “seeks to ensure that the collection and allocation of public resources is carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment,” according to the UN Women’s website. Some Filipino cities have doubled their gender and development expenditures since the organization’s efforts to train government stakeholders began in 2004. 

Palestine Repeals “Marry Your Rapist” Legislation

In March 2018, Palestinian lawmakers signed Law No. 5 of the year, repealing article 308 of the 1960 penal code stating convicted rapists could avoid jail time if they married their victims. Yes, you read that correctly. Because of criminalized abortion and barriers to getting birth certificates for children born out of wedlock in Palestine, women who become pregnant as a result of rape are often coerced into marrying their rapists. 

The new law also prohibits judges from imposing lighter sentences for convicted murderers found guilty of “honor killings.”  

Morocco Passes New Violence Against Women Law

On Feb. 16, of this year, after more than 10 years of advocacy efforts by local women’s rights organizations, Moroccan lawmakers approved a violence against women act. The law criminalizes some forms of domestic violence and requires authorities to provide programs that raise awareness about violence against women. It also outlaws forced marriage, the practice of squandering money to get out of spousal support payments, expelling a spouse from his or her home, and sexual and cyber harassment. The new law allows spouses to seek protective orders against their abusers but are only granted during criminal proceedings or following a conviction. 

Moroccan women’s rights leaders say the new law is fraught with loopholes but hope it’s a step in the right direction for protecting the nearly two-thirds of Moroccan women who will experience violence in their lives. 

Unfortunately, there’s also still plenty of work to be done in the movement to end violence against women, as evidenced by these recent news stories. 

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Russian Abusers Get Free Pass to Assault Family Members 

In February 2017, the Russian Parliament amended a law to decriminalize first offenses of family battery. The amendment was supported by Russian conservatives touting “traditional values,” and predominantly affects women and children, who make up the vast majority of victims of family violence. 

Russian law does not even define domestic violence and does not allow for victims to seek protective orders. Legal experts say victims of domestic violence or worse off a year after the amendment was made with fewer consequences to deter abusers and fewer protections for victims. 

Afghan Government Largely Ignores Violence Against Women

The Afghan government passed groundbreaking legislation in 2009 called the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, which outlawed crimes of domestic violence including physical and sexual abuse, underage marriage, forced isolation, harassment and more. Women’s rights activists hoped it would quell the violence that affects nearly 87 percent of Afghan women and girls. But the criminal justice system has largely ignored the edict, referring the majority of domestic violence cases to mediation rather than the courts.

In a recent review of 280 murders of women, including numerous “honor killings,” the UN found only 50 cases resulted in convictions while the vast majority were never even brought to trial. 

To read about what else you may have missed in the fight for gender equality, check out our In the News section.