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A life free from violence constitutes a human right that over half of the world's female population do not enjoy because of the abuse inflicted on them by their intimate partners.1 Violence against women (VAW) is a social problem that States must address legally to deal with this source of injustice, inequality, and physical and non-physical health problems.2 The legal framework established by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women3 represents a move in this direction, while demands made by the women's movement have stimulated the development of laws and policies in many countries. This editorial aims to describe the international situation as regards VAW legislation, focusing in particular on violence by intimate partners. It also discussed the minimum standards that such laws should incorporate, as defined by experts from the Council of Europe,4 WHO,5 the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.6 We end with suggestions for future lines of research.
According to information compiled for legal databases,7–11 115 countries have adopted or revised legislation on VAW, enacting different kinds of instruments such as laws, legal codes or legal reforms in their constitutions. Specific VAW laws encompassing the areas of health, education, social services, legal …