The Laws On Domestic Violence In Muslim Majority Countries
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
15. Kurdistan (Iraq – KRG)
27. Saudi Arabia
28. Sierra Leone
The relationship of Islam and domestic violence is clear. Among the earliest scholars of Islam, they prohibited abuse, and or physical violence against one’s wife (See section 11). This is one of the reasons many Muslim countries have adopted laws to protect wives from verbal and physical abuse from their husbands. The earliest days of Islam, scholars have punished abusive and intolerant husbands due to them hurting their wives.
The following quotes are the laws in Muslim-majority countries where you can get punished if one were to commit a criminal act of hurting his wife. The laws are not perfect, there is more to be done to protect women. Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction at the moment.
1. Albania (“60% Muslim”):
“1. “Violence” is any act or omission of one person against another, resulting in violation of the physical, moral, psychological, sexual, social and economic integrity.
2. “Domestic violence” is any act of violence pursuant to point one of this one article committed between persons who are or used to be in a family relation
3. “Members of the family”…
1. Protection against domestic violence shall be ensured by/through:
a) immediately ordering the defendant (the perpetrator) to refrain from committing or threatening to commit an act of domestic violence against the petitioner (victim) or other family members of the victim as defined in article 3 point 3 of this law or as named in the order;
b) immediately forcing the defendant (perpetrator) to refrain from harming, harassing, contacting or communicating directly or indirectly with the victim or other members of their family as defined in article 3 point 3 of this law or as named in the order;
c) removing immediately the defendant (perpetrator) from the residence for a certain period of time, determined in the court order and restricting their re-entrance without court authorization;
d) prohibiting immediately the defendant (perpetrator) to be within a certain distance to the victim or members of their family as defined in article 3 point 3 of this law or as named in the order;
e) immediately forbidding the defendant (perpetrator) to approach/get near the house, workplace, the original family residence or the future couple’s residence or that of other persons and moreover the children’s school or any other place commonly frequented by the victim, unless this happens for work-related reasons;
f) immediately placing the victim and the minors in temporary shelters always keeping in mind the best interest of the child…” (Republic Of Albania – The Parliament – Law No. 9669 of 18.12.2006 “On Measures Against Violence In Family Relations”, http://www.stopvaw.org/albania )
2. Algeria (98% Muslim):
“On December 10, 2015, parliament adopted amendments to the penal code specifically criminalizing some forms of domestic violence. Assault against one’s spouse or former spouse can be punished by up to 20 years in prison, depending on the victim’s injuries, and the perpetrator can face a life sentence for attacks resulting in death.” (Country Summary Algeria – Human Rights Watch (HRW) – January 2017, page 4)
3. Azerbaijan (96% Muslim):
“1.0.1. domestic violence – intentional causing physical or moral harm each other persons on which this Law, by abuse of the close related relations, the current or former cohabitation extends;
1.0.2. the person which was affected by domestic violence (further the injured person) – the person to which physical or moral harm as a result of the actions provided by articles 1.0.3-1.0.6 of this Law and intentionally perfect concerning it jointly the family member living with it, the close relative, the person with which it does not consist in the legal marriage or with which jointly lived earlier is done. …
1.0.9. the security order – the act of the restrictions applied to actions which the person which committed domestic violence concerning the injured person can make. …” (Law Of The Azerbaijan Republic of June 22, 2010 No. 1058-IIIQ. “About prevention of domestic violence”, online source, Last accessed 1st February 2017, http://cis-legislation.com/document.fwx?rgn=32050 )
4. Bangladesh (92% Muslim):
“3. Domestic violence.- For the purpose of this Act, domestic violence means physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or economic abuse against a woman or a child of a family by any other person of that family with whom victim is, or has been, in family relationship. …
Explanation: For the purpose of this section-
(a) “Physical abuse”- that is, any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the victim and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force;
(b) “Psychological abuse”- that includes but is not limited to:-
(i) verbal abuse including insults, ridicule, humiliation, insults or threats of any nature;
(ii) harassment; or
(iii) controlling behaviour, such as restrictions on mobility, communication or self expression;
(c) “Sexual abuse”- that is, any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of the victim. …
30. Penalty for breach of protection order.- A breach of protection order by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 6(six) months, or with fine which may extend to 10(ten) thousand Taka, or with both and repetition of any offence shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 2(two) years, or with fine which may extend to 1(one) lakh Taka, or with both.” (Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) [Act 58 of 2010], page 3 & 11)
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina (52% Muslim):
“Domestic violence shall be any act of inflicting physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm or suffering, as well as threats as regards the aforementioned, and lack of due care and attention which may seriously impede family members from enjoying their rights and freedoms in all areas of public and private life which are based on equality.
Acts of domestic violence, in terms of paragraph 1 above, shall include:
1) The use of physical force or psychological coercion to the physical or psychological integrity of a family member;
2) The behavior of a family member which may result in the physical, psychological, or financial damage;
3) Intimidation, threats or the violation of the dignity of a family member by blackmail or another form of coercion;
4) Physical attack of a family member by another family member, irrespective of the fact of whether there was physical injury or not;
5) Verbal attack, insult, profanity, name calling and other violent harassment of one family member by another;
6) Sexual harassment and harassment of a family member as defined in the Gender Equality Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 16/03). (Based on Article IV.B.7 a) (IV) of the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Law – On Protection From Domestic Violence”., page 2 – 3)
6. Brunei (67% Muslim):
“…authorities arrested individuals in domestic violence cases under the Women and Girls Protection Act. The police investigated domestic violence only in response to a report by a victim. The police were responsive in the investigation of such cases. Through September, 27 cases of domestic abuse were reported, of which 24 remained under investigation, two were being prosecuted, and one resulted in a conviction. The criminal penalty for a minor domestic assault is one to two weeks in jail and a fine. An assault resulting in serious injury is punishable by caning and a longer prison sentence.
A special unit staffed by female officers existed within the police to investigate domestic abuse and child abuse complaints. A hotline was available for persons to report domestic violence. The Department of Community Development in the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports provided counseling for women and their spouses. Based on individual circumstances, some female and minor victims were placed in protective custody at a government-sponsored shelter while waiting for their cases to be brought to court. Islamic courts staffed by male and female officials offered counseling to married couples in domestic violence cases. Officials did not encourage wives to reconcile with flagrantly abusive spouses, and Islamic courts recognized assault as grounds for divorce.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Brunei 2014 Human Rights Report, page 14)
7. Chad (53% Muslim (1993 Census)):
“Article 9 of Act No. 6/PR/2002 of 15 April 2002 on the promotion of reproductive health, states that: “All persons have the right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of their body in general and of their reproductive organs in particular. All forms of violence such as female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, domestic violence and sexual abuse of a human being are prohibited.” (Chad – Law No. 006/PR/2002 of 15 April 2002, on the promotion of reproductive health [prohibits domestic violence].)
8. Comoros (98% Muslim):
“The law prohibits domestic violence, but fines and imprisonment were rarely imposed. … The government did take action to combat violence against women when that violence was reported; however, women rarely filed official complaints. During the year there were two cases of spousal killing. The husbands in both cases were charged and convicted for murder and were serving prison sentences at year’s end. While women can seek protection from domestic violence through the courts, most cases were addressed through extended family or the village. Domestic violence cases rarely entered the court system, but officials took action (usually the arrest of the spouse) when necessary.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Comoros 2013 Human Rights Report, page 10)
9. Gambia (95% Muslim):
“The law prohibits any form of violence against women, and stipulates a fine of 50,000 dalasi ($1,250) or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both. Victims underreported domestic violence due to social stigma, and victims settled most cases through family mediation. No statistics were available on abusers prosecuted or convicted. The government developed a national plan of action on gender-based violence (GBV) for 2013-17, with the goal of reducing the percentage of women who experience GBV from 75.5 percent to 30 percent. The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), one of the leading women’s rights NGOs in the country, included gender-based violence in its training modules for combating FGM/C. Another group, the Female Lawyers’ Association of The Gambia, educated women on their rights and represented them, often without charge, in domestic violence cases.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Gambia 2015 Human Rights Report, page 20)
Gambia (95% Muslim):
“Between January and October, officials from the Department of Social Welfare recorded more than 375 cases of domestic violence, which included paternity and custody cases in addition to cases of violence against children and women. For example, on February 14, the Special Criminal Court in Banjul convicted and sentenced to death 81-year-old Sheriff Aba Hydara of Bakalarr village for shooting and killing his wife in 2010. Hydara stated his late wife had angered him over her control of his garden and that he had no regrets killing her.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Gambia 2012 Human Rights Report, page 23)
10. Guinea (84% Muslim):
“Violence against a woman that causes an injury is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 30,000 GNF ($4.22). If the injury causes mutilation, amputation, or other loss of body parts, it is punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment; if the victim dies, the crime is punishable by life imprisonment. The law does not directly address domestic violence, although authorities may file charges under general assault, which carries sentences of two to five years in prison and fines of 50,000 to 300,000 GNF ($7 to $42). Assault constitutes grounds for divorce under civil law…” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy. Human Rights and Labor. Guinea 2015 Human Rights Report., page 20 – 21)
11. Indonesia (87% Muslim):
“The passage of Law 23/2004 regarding the Elimination of Domestic Violence was an important milestone for public awareness. In implementing the Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence and ensuring the protection of women from violence, the Indonesian Government has established an Integrated Service Centre for the Empowerment of Women and Children in 18 provinces and 113 districts/cities in Indonesia. The policies outlined by this law are implemented at the national, regional and village levels.” (CEDAW/C/IDN/6-7, para. 24) (Indonesia – Law on Elimination of Domestic Violence )
12. Jordan (93% Muslim):
a) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Penal Code or any other relevant legislation, the provisions of this law apply to domestic violence cases;
b) All procedures and information related to domestic violence heard by any relevant body including
courts are dealt with the utmost confidentiality;
c) The court may take into consideration the reports related to domestic violence that are submitted to it by formal competent bodies.
a) Providers of health care, social and education services from both public and private sector shall inform competent authorities once they learn about the incidence of domestic violence or see traces or marks they feel associated with domestic violence.
b) Officers in charge shall take appropriate procedures to safeguard the safety of the injured person of the family members once they learn about the incidence of domestic violence.
Law enforcement agencies including PSD officers shall go to the place where domestic violence allegedly happened in the following cases,
a) Upon receiving a report that there currently is a situation of domestic violence or that it is about to happen;
b) Upon receiving a report that an effective restraining order issued under the provisions of this law has been violated. (Family Protection Law No. 6 of Jordan (2008) – Published on page 821 of the Jordanian Official Gazette issue number 4892 on March 16, 2008, online source, last accessed 1st February 2017 on “Corpus Of Law”, http://corpus.learningpartnership.org/family-protection-law-no-6-of-jordan-2008)
13. Kazakhstan (70% Muslim):
“This Law establishes legal, economic, social and organizational grounds for state bodies, bodies of local self-government, organizations, and citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan to conduct activities for the PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Article 1. Main concepts used in this Law
The following main concepts have been used in this Law:
1) Victim is a physical person who may be suggested of having immediately suffered from moral, physical, and/or property damage inflicted by domestic violence;
2) Family and domestic relations means a scope of relationship between persons related by marriage; persons cohabiting in an individual residential house, apartment or other residential facility, also ex-spouses;
3) Domestic violence is a deliberate unlawful action or inaction of a person against other(s) in the field of family and domestic relations, causing or containing a threat of causing physical and/or mental suffering;
4) Prevention of domestic violence means a set of legal, economic, social and organizational activities of domestic violence prevention entities directed at the protection of constitutional rights, freedoms, and legal interests of a person and a citizen in the field of family and domestic relations, at the prevention and suppression of domestic violence, also at the detection and elimination of causes and conditions that trigger demonstration of domestic violence;
5) Domestic violence prevention entities shall be state agencies, bodies of local self-government, organizations and physical persons carrying out domestic violence prevention. …
Article 4. Types of Domestic Violence
1. Domestic abuse may express itself in the form of physical, psychological, sexual and/or economic violence:
2. Physical abuse shall be intentional infliction of harm to health by physical force or infliction of physical pain.
3. Psychological abuse shall be intentional mental effect on a person, humiliation of honor and dignity by threat, insult, blackmail or coercion (duress) to misdemeanors or to acts that pose danger to life or health, as well as by way of causing mental, physical or personal developmental disorders. … This Law shall be enacted 10 calendar days after its first official publication. President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbaev” (Law Of The Republic Kazakhstan “On Prevention of Domestic Violence” – Astana, Acorda, 4 December 2009. No. 214-IV ZRK., http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/16323 )
14. Kosovo (90% Muslim):
“(Law No.03/L –182 ON Protection Against Domestic Violence – Assembly of Republic of Kosovo, Pursuant to Article 65 (1) of the Constitution of Republic of Kosovo, Approved.)
1.2. Domestic Violence – one or more intentional acts or omissions when committed by a person against another person with whom he or she is or has been in a domestic relationship, but not limited to:
1.2.1.use of physical force or psychological pressure exercised towards another
member of the family;
1.2.2. any other action of a family member, which may inflict or threaten to inflict physical pain or psychological suffering;
1.2.3. causing the feeling of fear, personal dangerousness or threat of dignity
1.2.4. physical assault regardless of consequences;
1.2.5. insult, offence, calling by offensive names and other forms of violent intimidation;
1.2.6. repetitive behavior with the aim of derogating the other person;
1.2.7. non-consensual sexual acts and sexual ill-treatment;
1.2.8. unlawfully limiting the freedom of movement of the other person. …
1. Whoever violates a protection order, emergency protection order or an interim emergency protection order, in whole or in part, commits a criminal offence and shall be sentenced to a fine of two hundred (200) euro to two thousand (2000) euro or imprisonment of up to six (6) months.” (Official Gazette Of The Republic Of Kosovo / Pristina: Year V / No. 76 / 10 August 2010), page 2 & 12, online source, http://www.stopvaw.org/uploads/lawonprotection_on_domestic_violence2010.pdf )
15. Kurdistan (Iraq – KRG (94% Muslim)):
“In the Name of God, Most Gracious and Most Merciful In the Name of the People The Parliament of Kurdistan- Iraq In accordance to the rules of Clause 1 from Article 56 of Act No. 1 from 1992, amended, and based on what is proposed by legal number of the Parliament members, the Parliament of Kurdistan — Iraq, in its regular session N0. 28, dated 21/6/2011 passed the following Act: Act No. 8 from 2011 The Act of Combating Domestic Violence in Kurdistan Region- Iraq. …
First: any person, bounded to a family relationship, is prohibited to commit a domestic violence act including physical, sexual and psychological violence within the family. The following acts are regarded as examples of domestic violence acts:
10- Suicide due to domestic violence. 11- Abortion due to domestic violence. 12- Battering the children and family members under any justiﬁcation. l3— Assaulting, insulting and cursing the family members, showing perception of inferiority to them, hurting them, putting psychological pressure on them, violating their rights and forced wife and husband sexual intercourses. Second: The victim of domestic violence shall have guarantees to protect him/her from violence.
With not defying any other more sever penalties speculated in the applicable laws in Kurdistan Region: Whoever commits a domestic violence is imprisoned for no less than six months and no more than three years and ﬁned for no less than one million Iraqi dinars and no more than ﬁve million Iraqi dinars or punished by one million Iraqi dinars and no more than ﬁve million Iraqi dinars or punished by one of these two penalties. …
Muhammad Qadir Abdullah (Dr. Kamal Kirkuki) Speaker of the Parliament of Kurdistan- Iraq
Founding Reasons: Domestic violence is a negative phenomena in contrast to What divine religions and principles of human rights dictate, as the family is the founding base for the society and for the purpose of protecting it from disintegration and protecting its members and also pursuing legal actions to ensure its safety and stability along with preventing domestic violence through legal preventive methods before occurring and also searching for reconciliation and curative solution after occurring, this law is passed.” (The Parliament of Kurdistan-Iraq – Act No. 8 from 2011. The Act of Combating Domestic Violence Kurdistan Region-Iraq, page 1 – 5)
16. Kuwait (74% Muslim):
“Article 127 of the Personal Status Act, as amended by Act No. 29 of 2004, stipulates that the court must make every effort to reconcile the spouses on grounds of harm, inflicted by word or act, which renders continued cohabitation impossible; however, if reconciliation proves to be unattainable and harm has been established, the court must separate them. If harm has not been established, the court must appoint two arbitrators to decide whether the spouses should be reconciled or separated.” (Kuwait – Article 127 of the Personal Status Act No. 29 (2004). Type of Measure: Violence against women > Legislation. Form of Violence: Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence. Source A/HRC/WG.6/21/KWT/1 para 24, online source http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en/countries/asia/kuwait/2004/article-127-of-the-personal-status-act-no29)
“Article 160 of the Penal Code states that anyone who strikes, wounds, inflicts bodily harm on, or violates the physical integrity of another person in a tangible manner is liable to a term of up to two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 150 dinars. The penalty is increased if the offender inflicts severe harm (article 161) or if the harm inflicted causes permanent disability (article 162).” (Kuwait – Article 160 of the Penal Code (Punitive Actions against Violence). (2003). Type of Measure: Violence against women > Legislation. Form of Violence: Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence. Source A/HRC/WG.6/21/KWT/1 para 23, online source http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en/countries/asia/kuwait/2003/article-160-of-the-penal-code-punitive-actions-against-violence)
17. Kyrgyzstan (88% Muslim):
“While the law specifically prohibits domestic violence and spousal abuse, violence against women and girls remained a significant problem, yet was underreported. Penalties for domestic violence convictions ranged from fines to 15 years’ imprisonment, the latter if abuse resulted in death. … The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported registering 1,819 cases of domestic violence during the first six months of the year. According to the ministry, it issued 1,578 temporary protection orders, opened 118 criminal cases, and brought administrative charges against 1,004 individuals based on these complaints. … Several local NGOs provided services to victims of domestic violence, including legal, medical, and psychological assistance, a crisis hotline, shelters, and prevention programs. Organizations assisting battered women also lobbied to streamline the legal process for obtaining protection orders. The government provided offices to the Sezim Shelter for victims of domestic abuse and paid its expenses. According to the shelter, its hotline received 546 telephone calls during the first six months of the year. Women made 96 percent of the calls, 32 percent of which involved domestic violence. The shelter provided consultations, advocacy, and shelter services to 1,100 individuals.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) 2015 Human Rights Report, page 24)
18. Lebanon (59% Muslim – Law Passed 2014):
“Lebanon has a Draft Law on the Protection of Women from Family Violence (first drafted in 2008) under parliamentary consideration as of 2011. The draft law criminalizes all forms of domestic abuse, including spousal rape and crimes of honor. Included in the draft law is a stipulation of the death penalty for premediated homicide against female family members. The creation of specialzed family courts operating under civil law is required, and domestic abuse cases can be heard privately before judges.” (Encyclopedia Of Domestic Violence And Abuse, [ABC-CLIO, LLC., 2013] by Laura L. Finley (editor), volume 1 (A-R), page 324 – 325)
“The wife may apply for divorce on many grounds, including discord. A reconciliation attempt is mandatory.” (The Status And Progress of Women In The Middle East And North Africa [The World Bank, 2009], page 20)
19. Libya (96% Muslim):
“Domestic violence is a problem in Libya. Article 17 of Law No. 10 of 1984 states that husbands should not cause physical or mental harm to their wives, but Article 63 of the penal code stipulates that evidence of injury is needed to prove assault.” (Women’s Rights In The Middle East And North Africa – Progress Amid Resistance [Rowan And Littlefield Publishers, INC., 2010] by Sanja Kelly & Julia Breslin (Editors), page 295)
20. Malaysia (61% Muslim [Act 1994]):
“domestic violence” means the commission of any of the following acts:
(a) wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, the victim in fear of physical injury;
(b) causing physical injury to the victim by such act. which is known or, ought to have been known would result in physical injury;
(c) compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from the victim has a right to abstain;
(d) confining or detaining the victim against the victim’s will. …
8. Contravention of protection order.
(1) Any person who wilfully contravenes a protection order or any provision thereof shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
(2) Any person who wilfully contravenes a protection order by using violence on a protected person shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding four thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
(3) Any person who is convicted for a second or subsequent violation of a protection order under subsection (2) shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than seventy-two hours and not more than two years, and shall also be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit.
(LAWS OF MALAYSIA – Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) & Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga 1994 (Akta 521), page 6 – 11, https://www.wcwonline.org/pdf/lawcompilation/malaysia_DVact1994.pdf )
Malaysia (61% Muslim [Amendment & addition in Act 2012[):
“(f) causing psychological abuse which includes emotional injury to the victim.
(g) causing the victim to suffer delusions by using any intoxicating substance or any other substance without the victim’s consent or if the consent is given, the consent was unlawfully obtained. …”
(Law Of Malaysia Act A1414 – Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2012), page 4,
21. Maldives (100% Muslim):
“In accordance with Article 92 of the Constitution, the “Domestic Violence Bill” passed in the 5th sitting of the 1st session of the People’s Majlis held on Monday the 9th of April 2012, has become law and has been published in the Government Gazette upon its ratification by the President on Monday the 23rd of April 2012 (2 Jumad’al Akhir 1433).
(a) This Act shall determine provisions for the prohibition and prevention of domestic violence; measures taken against persons who commit acts of domestic violence; protection of and support for victims of domestic violence; the role of the relevant State authorities; and the collaboration between such State authorities, in the Republic of Maldives.
(b) For the purposes of this Act, domestic violence refers to commission of any act described as an act of violence under this Act, by the perpetrator against the victim, provided such persons are bound by a domestic relationship. …
The purpose of this Act is to achieve the following objectives:-
(a) to determine that every act of domestic violence, under any circumstance, in any form or manner, among persons is strictly unlawful;
(b) to provide adequate protection to victims of domestic violence, under the circumstance where such an act has occurred;
(c) to serve justice in a cost-effective, timely, and convenient manner to victims of domestic violence;
(d) to implement adequate programmes for victims of domestic violence and to ensure the recovery of such victims in order to resume their health and a normal life;
(e) to take all necessary measures to stop persons from committing acts of domestic violence and to support them in their rehabilitation; (f) to facilitate enforcement of court orders and legitimate orders from other state institutions issued in order to stop acts of domestic violence. …
Acts of domestic violence
(a) For the purposes of this Act, “domestic violence” shall mean any of the following acts by a perpetrator where such conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to, the safety, health or wellbeing of the victim(s), and provided the victim(s) and perpetrator are in a domestic relationship:
(1) physical abuse;
(2) sexual abuse;
(3) verbal and psychological abuse;
(4) economic or financial abuse;
(5) Impregnating the spouse, without concern to her health condition and against any medical advice to refrain from impregnation for a specified period of time;
(6) Impregnating a women, who is trying to remove herself from a harmful marriage, against her will;
(7) Deliberately withholding the property of a person;
46. Thafriq – Thafriq refers to the special right of a woman under Islamic Shari’ah to demand the dissolution of a marriage where the court finds that any of the grounds stated under the Islamic Shari’ah for thafriq continue to exist.
47. Order for dissolution – Any marriage shall be dissolved under this Act pursuant to a thafriq order of the court. The legal principles applicable to a court judgment shall be applicable to such an order.
48. Circumstances under which “thafriq” is allowed – In the event a male perpetrator bound by marriage with a female victim has committed an act of domestic violence against the female victim, for the purposes of this Act, their marriage shall be dissolved at the request of the female victim where the court finds the existence of any of the following grounds which have been prescribed under Islamic Shari’ah as grounds under which “thafriq” is permissible:-
(a) The seriousness of the act of domestic violence has caused an impediment to the resumption of a peaceful life between the male perpetrator and the female victim.
(b) The protection and wellbeing of the female victim cannot be granted certainty due to the severity of such act of domestic violence.
(c) In spite of the implementation of other measures prescribed under this Act, the marital relationship between the two persons has irretrievably broken down as a result of the act of domestic violence that it is impossible to maintain the marital relationship any further. (Maldives – Domestic Violence Act. Act Number 3/2012., page 6 – 26
22. Mauritania (99% Muslim):
“In Mauritania, a Protection from Domestic Violence Act was passed in 1997 (Bowman 2003.” (Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence [Routlege – Taylor & Francis Group, LLC., 2007]by Nicky Ali Jackson (editor), page 1)
23. Mayotte (98% Muslim):
“France is governed by the provisions of the French Civil Code. However, both in MAYOTTE and the partly autonomous overseas territorial units in the Pacific (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna), two personal statuses coexist: THE SAME LAW STATUS AS IN FRANCE, AND A LOCAL OR COMMON LAW STATUS (CUSTOMARY LAW). … There are new measures on gender-based violence that were adopted as part of the 2014 law on gender equality. The 2014-2016 National Plan to TACKLE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN covers various forms of violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence and female genital mutilation.” (Social Institutions & Gender Index (2014)– Mayotte, online source http://www.genderindex.org/country/france )
24. Niger (98% Muslim):
“While the law does not explicitly prohibit domestic violence, a woman can sue her husband or lodge criminal charges for battery, penalties for which ranged from two months in prison and a 10,000 CFA francs ($20) fine to 30 years’ imprisonment. The government tried with limited success to enforce these laws, and courts prosecuted cases of domestic violence when they received complaints. Charges stemming from family disputes were often dropped in favor of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. While women have the right to seek redress for violence in the customary or formal courts, few did so due to ignorance of redress offered by the legal system and fear of spousal or familial repudiation, further violence, or stigmatization. Through several events that received wide media coverage, the Ministry of Population, Women’s Promotion, and Children’s Protection, international organizations, NGOs, and women’s organizations conducted public awareness campaigns on violence against women and legal recourse available. On May 13, Women’s Day, the government renewed its commitment to combating violence against women.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Niger 2013 Human Rights Report., page 16)
25. Oman (87% Muslim):
“The law does not specifically address domestic violence, and judicial protection orders from domestic violence do not exist. Charges could be brought, however, under existing statutes outlawing assault, battery, and aggravated assault, which can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Allegations of spousal abuse in civil courts handling family law cases reportedly were common. Victims of domestic violence may file a complaint with police, and reports suggested that police responded promptly and professionally.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Oman 2015 Human Rights Report., page 14)
26. Pakistan (96% Muslim):
“Domestic violence is not specifically recognized as crime on its own in Pakistani law. At least it is not recognised as a crime in those words exactly. There are many elements involved in the crime of domestic violence, as is discussed in the definition given above. While domestic violence is not specifically recognized, the different elements involved are to a certain extent covered by the law in Pakistan.
In fact, a number of these elements have been recognized by a few courts in their judgments as a form of domestic violence. The relevant provisions of law are varied and wide but all contain elements of domestic violence or can be interpreted to include domestic violence, as has been done so internationally. Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking.” (Laws against Domestic Violence in Pakistan, online source, http://legalpoint.pk/artical/Domestic%20Violence%20in%20Pakistan.html )
Sindh Province of Pakistan (Population 55 Million):
“The Sindh Assembly unanimously adopted the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2013. The passage of this Act came after 5 years of struggle by the Aurat Foundation, in collaboration with activists, jurists, lawyers and women legislators. The Act defines domestic violence as inclusive of but not limited to, all acts of gender-based, and other physical or psychological, abuse committed by a respondent against women, children or other vulnerable persons, with whom the respondent is or has been in a domestic relationship. The Act will be enforceable in the entire province of Sindh.
The new law provides for up to 2 years of imprisonment for offenders, and fines ranging from Rs 1000 and Rs 50,000, and also calls for the formation of a special committee to educate the complainants about their rights.” (Domestic Violence Act passed by Sindh Assembly in Pakistan, online source, http://cedawsouthasia.org/2423/domestic-violence-act-passed-by-sindh-assembly-in-pakistan )
Balochistan Province of Pakistan (Population 13.6 Million):
“No.PAB/Legis: V (07)/2014. The Balochistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2014, (Bill No.07 of 2014), having been passed by the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan on 1 st February, 2014 and assented to by the Governor, Balochistan on 11th February, 2014 is hereby published as an Act of the Balochistan Provincial Assembly.
Domestic Violence includes but is not limited to, all intentional acts of gender based or other physical or psychological abuse committed by an accused against women, children or other vulnerable persons with whom the accused is or has been in a domestic relationship. …
(j) “physical abuse” means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal force and criminal intimidation.
(I) “ sexual abuse” includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of the aggrieved person;
(m) “ verbal and emotional abuse” means any or persistent degrading or humiliating conduct of the accused towards the aggrieved person, including but not limited to-
(i) insults or ridicule;
(ii) threat to cause physical pain; and
(iii) threat of malicious prosecution;
(n) willful or negligent abandonment of the aggrieved person;
(o) “wrongful confinement” as defined in section 340 of the said Code; and
(p) Any other repressive or abusive behavior towards the aggrieved person where such a conduct harms or may cause imminent danger of harm to the safety, health or well-being of the aggrieved person. …
13. (1) A breach of protection order, or of the interim protection order, by the accused shall be an offence and shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year but shall not be less than six months and with fine which may not be less than one hundred thousand rupees. The court shall order that the amount of fine shall be given to the aggrieved person.” (The Balochistan Domestic Violence (Prevention And Protection) Act 2014 (act No. VII Of 2014), page 3 – 7)
Punjab Province of Pakistan (Population 28 Million):
“Since the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, while guaranteeing gender equality, enables the State to make any special provision for the protection of women, it is necessary to protect women against violence including domestic violence, to establish a protection system for effective service delivery to women victims and to create an enabling environment to encourage and facilitate women freely to play their desired role in the society, and to provide for ancillary matters. …
(r) “violence” means any offence committed against the human body of the aggrieved person including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime;
Explanations.- In this clause:
(1) “economic abuse” means denial of food, clothing and shelter in a domestic relationship to the aggrieved person by the defendant in accordance with the defendant’s income or taking away the income of the aggrieved person without her consent by the defendant; and
(2) “psychological violence includes psychological deterioration of aggrieved person which may result in anorexia, suicide attempt or clinically proven depression resulting from defendant’s oppressive behaviour or limiting freedom of movement of the aggrieved person and that condition is certified by a panel of psychologists appointed by District Women Protection Committee. …
18. Penalty for obstructing a Protection Officer.– Any person, who obstructs the District Woman Protection Officer or a Woman Protection Officer in the performance of the duties under this Act, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend five hundred thousand rupees or both. …
20. Penalty for breach of orders.– (1) A defendant, who commits breach of an interim order, protection order, residence order or monetary order, or illegally interferes with the working of the GPS tracker, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or fine which may extend to two hundred thousand rupees but which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees or both. (2) A defendant, who violates the interim order, protection order, residence order or monetary order more than once, shall be liable to punishment which may extend to two years but which shall not be less than one year and to fine which may extend to five hundred thousand rupees but which shall not be less than one hundred thousand rupees.” (The Punjab Protection Of Women Against Violence Act 2016 (XVI of 2016), page 3 – 13, online source https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/102088/123288/F144185138/PAKD102088.pdf)
27. Saudi Arabia
Although there are no clear domestic violence laws for women in Saudi Arabia, however, there are laws in place for a wife. If there is proof that she has been physically abused, a Judge could dispense punishment on the perpetrator. In 2002, 2012 and 2015 cases were brought to court in relation to abusive husbands. The Saudi judges compensated the victims, and lashed the perpetrators for their actions against their wives. (On the 2002 case, this is recorded in The Saudi Ministry of Justice, Mudawwanat al-Ahkam al-Qada’iyya, page 113-17, quoted by Jonathan A. C. Brown)
(1) – “Wife-beating husband gets 30 lashes” (2012)
(2) – “Saudi man gets jail and 30 lashes for slapping and spitting on his wife” (2015)
Saudi Arabia (97% Muslim):
“A woman can ask her husband to divorce her in exchange for waiver of her financial rights (divorce by mutual consent, or khul‘), namely return of any dower and other remaining financial rights. A woman can seek judicial divorce (tafriq) when harm (darar) is inflicted upon her by her husband, which is interpreted as any harmful conduct of the husband (physical or mental) that makes conjugal life between the couple impossible. For example, if the husband does not fulfil his obligation to support his wife; if he is not capable of conjugal relations due to a physical or mental handicap; or if he is absent for a long period of time.” (Sharia Incorporated – A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present [Editor Jan Michiel Otto. Leiden University Press, 2010], by Esther van Eijk, page 163)
28. Sierra Leone (77% Muslim):
“For the purposes of subsection (1), domestic violence means any of the following acts or threat of any such act:-
(a) physical or sexual abuse;
(b) economic abuse;
(c) emotional, verbal or psychological abuse, including any conduct that makes another person feel constantly unhappy, humiliated, ridiculed, afraid or depressed or to feel inadequate or worthless;
(d) harassment, including sexual harassment and intimidation;
(e) conduct that in any way harms or may harm another person, including any omission that results in harm and either-
(i) endangers the safety, health or wellbeing of another person;
(ii) undermines another person’s privacy, integrity or security; or
(iii) detracts or is likely to detract from another person’s dignity or worth as a human being.
(3) An offence under subsection (1) shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding Le5,000,000 or by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or by both such fine and imprisonment.” (Sierra Leone – The Domestic Violence Act, 2007., page 14. (Signed this 26th day of July, 2007 – Al-Haji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President))
29. Sudan (97%):
“Sharia And National Law in Sudan
Divorce initiated by the wife in court (tatliq)
In the framework of the tatliq (divorce) procedure, which recognises various valid grounds for divorce, the court intervenes. Grounds for divorce that may be invoked by the wife include, for example, situations such as the husband suffering from an incurable physical defect (Art.s 151-152) or impotence (Art.s 153-161); cruelty of the husband or discord between the spouses (Art.s 162-169); divorce by redemption (Art.s 170-173); failure of the husband to pay maintenance to the wife (Art.s 174- 184); absence or imprisonment of the husband (Art.s 185-191); and refusal of the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife (Art.s 192- 195).
Maintenance and financial compensation after a divorce
Following divorce, the wife is entitled to maintenance during the ´idda period (mentioned above), unless the divorce is the consequence of an illegal act on the part of the wife (Art. 72). A woman in the state of ´idda who is not breastfeeding has the right to receive maintenance after the divorce for a maximum of up to one year (Art. 73(a)). A woman in the state of ´idda who is breastfeeding receives maintenance for up to three months after the end of lactation. If she swears that her menstruation fails to appear due to breastfeeding, the period of maintenance will be prolonged to two years and three months after the birth of the child (Art. 73(b)).
In addition to the alimony described above, the divorced woman is entitled to a financial compensation (mut´a) equivalent to the maintenance of the ´idda, not exceeding six months and according to the solvency of the ex-husband (Art. 138, Ali 2001: 110). However, in the following cases, the mut´a is not due: a) if the reason for the divorce is the non-payment of maintenance due to the lacking solvency of the husband; b) if the divorce has been caused by a fault (´aib) of the wife; and c) if the divorce has been reached by mutual consent against a payment by the wife (Art.s 138 and 2(a-c)).” (Sharia Incorporated – A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present [Editor Jan Michiel Otto. Leiden University Press, 2010], by Olaf Kondgen, page 208 – 209)
30. Tajikistan Law approved in 2012 combatting domestic violence (99% Muslim):
“Tajikistan’s parliament has passed the country’s first law specifically targeting domestic violence. Lawmakers on December 19 approved the law, which aims to give greater protections to women’s rights. It sets up administrative measures to deal with domestic violence, including up to 15 days’ imprisonment and fines for offenders. The law includes a statement that the elderly should play an active role in preventing domestic violence among young families. The advice of elders carries significant weight in traditional Tajik society. … Tajikistan has some 30 centers for victims of domestic violence, where women can seek counseling and legal advice and, in some places, temporary shelter.” (“Tajik Parliament Approves Law Against Domestic Violence”, last accesed February 2017, online source http://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-law-domestic-violence/24803038.html )
31. Tunisia (99% Muslim):
The criminal code on Violence and Threats as amended in 1993 included aggravating circumstances in the event of physical violence. In fact, any person who deliberately injures, or commits any violence or assault which does not fall within the provisions of Article 319, shall be punished by imprisonment for one year and a fine of 1000 dinars. If the perpetrator is a descendant of the spouse of the victim, the penalty is two years in prison and a 2000 dinars fine. If there was premeditated, the penalty is three years imprisonment and a 3000 dinars find (Article 218).” (Women in Public Life – Gender, Law And Policy In The Middle East And North Africa [OECD / Cawtar, 2014], page 271)
32. Turkey (98% Muslim):
“…Turkey were the first countries to pass domestic abuse legislation in the region. In 1991, … During the same decade, Turkey adopted Law No. 4320 (1998) allowing for domestic violence protection orders; the law was further amended in 2007. Later, in 2004, the Turkish Penal Code redefined sex-based crimes, including criminalizing marital rape and increasing sentences for crimes of honor.” (Encyclopedia Of Domestic Violence And Abuse, [ABC-CLIO, LLC., 2013] by Laura L. Finley (editor), volume 1 (A-R), page 324)
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“For a Pakistani Christian like Shameela Masih, divorcing her abusive husband meant two choices — both nearly as bad as staying in the marriage. “I have to prove adultery allegations against him,” said Masih, a 34-year-old mother of two. “The other option I have is to convert to Islam.” Masih recently filed for divorce from a husband she said “frequently beats me up” and a mother-in-law who she said burned her leg with coal.”