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Domestic violence is one of the fastest-growing areas of family law. Consider the November 2015 march in Madrid of over twenty-thousand, including Spanish political leaders. In the U.S., a trend has emerged of National Football League players wearing special colors to raise awareness—and facing fines as a result. Human Rights Watch released a report in late 2015 characterizing family violence in Papau New Guinea as an “emergency” and citing a 1992 report that found 80% of the tiny nation’s male citizens who had a partner admitted inflicting domestic or sexual violence on them. Regardless of geography, the public discourse on this issue is at an all-time high.

Legal sanctions for domestic violence are relatively new to the body of law of most jurisdictions. The Violence Against Women Act in the United States was passed in 1994, and reauthorization of it was hotly contested in Congress resulting in certain limitations. The United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights first included prohibitions on violence against women during the same era, the early 1990s. Amnesty International characterizes violence against women as “rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women equal rights with men and which legitimizes the appropriation of women’s bodies for individual gratification or political ends”. Yet most countries and states have a longstanding set of family law norms that are often seen as sacrosanct: marriage laws, child custody and protection laws, and property distribution procedures for estates and divorces.

This Special Issue focuses on domestic violence as a component of family law. What are the gaps between enactment of domestic violence laws, and implementation? What is the role of law enforcement in protecting victims of violence? To what extent do existing legal norms and doctrines need to yield to a modern understanding of human rights and gender equality, to make domestic violence laws effective?

The articles will be readable by a broad audience and not limited to a single country or jurisdiction. This Special Issue will be a critical reference point for scholars and the wider community interested in the development of scholarship on Domestic Violence and Family Law.


Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Deadline: 1 October 2016

For more details click here

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