While domestic violence continues to be a significant public health problem across the nation, the fact remains that the United States enjoys some of the strongest legal protections against domestic violence found anywhere on earth. With more than one billion women living in countries with no legal protections against DV, it’s evident there is still much work to be done to change mindsets and provide more protection across the globe. And yet, in recent years, the world has seen a remarkable amount of progress as more and more countries pass stricter laws and stronger penalties against domestic violence. Let’s take a snapshot of our world and look at this issue from an international perspective. Where are domestic violence protections strongest? Where are they nonexistent? How much progress is being made?
The Good News About Domestic Violence Protections Internationally
As recently as 2006, only 60 nations across the globe had passed laws prohibiting domestic violence; by 2011, the UN reported that that number had more than doubled, to 127 nations. The latest numbers show that 144 countries now have laws in place to protect domestic violence victims and punish the perpetrators. This data indicates a positive trend of new laws being passed with heightened awareness of the need to protect victims. The Washington Post reports that the continents of North America and Europe currently enjoy the strongest and most consistent legal protections available for domestic violence victims–and the United States is at or very near the top of the list. Other nations with similar laws against domestic violence include Chile, Columbia, New Zealand, South Africa, Austria, and the UK.