Broken ceramic bowl

Freedom from violence (whether sexual, mental, emotional, financial or physical) is a fundamental human right.[1] The right to protection from violence and to security and liberty of person is recognised in the major human rights agreements including the:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Domestic and family violence violates a wide range of human rights including:

  • The right to life.
  • The highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.[2]
  • The right to decent work.[3]
  • Freedom of expression and the right to hold opinions without interference.[4]
  • A child or young person’s right to leisure and play.[5]
  • The right to education.[6]
  • The right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.[7]


See CEDAW Committee, General Recommendation No. 19: Violence against Women, UN Doc. A/47/38 (1992), para 7.


[1] UDHR,1948, art 5; ICCPR,1966, art ; CRC,1989, art, 19; Committee on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, Violence Against Women, General Recommendation No. 12 eighth session, (1989) notes that violence directed against a woman because she is a woman or violence that affects women disproportionately is discrimination.

[2] UDHR GA Resolution 217A (III), UN Doc A/810 (1948), art 25; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), 1966, art 12(1); CRC,1989, art 24.

[3] UDHR GA Resolution 217A (III), UN Doc A/810 (1948), art 23; ICESCR arts 6 and 7.

[4] UDHR GA Resolution 217A (III), UN Doc A/810 (1948), art 19; ICCPR,1966, art 19.

[5] CRC, 1989, art 31.

[6]UDHR GA Resolution 217A (III), UN Doc A/810 (1948), art 26; ICESCR,1966, art 13(1); CRC, 1989, art 29; Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment no. 1- The Aims of Education, (2001) art 29 (1) para 8.

[7] ICCPR,1966, art 7.