More countries have laws banning domestic violence, says UN women’s rights official

22 November 2006 –

The number of countries with laws tackling the scourge of domestic violence has surged in the last three years, with 89 States now with some sort of provisions, the head of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) said today.

Speaking on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is being marked on Saturday, UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer told reporters in New York that there were welcome signs of progress around the world.

In 2003 only 45 countries had specific laws on domestic violence, she said, but that number has now increased to 60, and in total there are 89 nations with some form of legislative provisions that deal with domestic violence.

Funding for initiatives is also on the rise, with the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women – which is disbursed by UNIFEM – set to hand out nearly $4 million this year, almost twice the amount of last year.

Noting that many countries still had a long way to go, Ms. Heyzer said the key challenge is to help nations ensure that the laws and measures they have introduced are fully implemented, enforced and monitored, especially at the local level.

She also said the rise in both anti-violence laws and Trust Fund grants is no coincidence – many grants in recent years have gone to campaigns that push for legislation on violence against women.

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