COPCAT Shorts – Prohibition of Torture in the Context of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is perpetrated every day against millions of children, women and men worldwide. It is experienced by all generations, nationalities, cultures and religions and on all socioeconomic and educational levels of society. It constitutes a major obstacle to the universal fulfilment of human rights and to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and it severely damages the physical, sexual, emotional, mental and social well-being of innumerable individuals and families, often leaving lasting trauma not only on its direct victims but also within entire communities. For countless people, it makes the home a place of danger, humiliation and untold harm, rather than a place of refuge, trust and protection.

In the light of these observations, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is of the view that domestic violence cannot be regarded as a private matter, but constitutes a major human rights issue of inherently public concern that requires examination, inter alia, from the perspective of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment. Building on the work of his predecessors and other mechanisms, the Special Rapporteur conducted extensive research and broad stakeholder consultations with experts, government representatives, international organizations and civil society organizations, including through a general call for submissions in response to a thematic questionnaire posted on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The present report reflects the resulting observations, conclusions and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur.”

UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Relevance of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to the context of domestic violence (UN Doc. A/74/148, 12 July 2019) §1 and 4.


Read the UN Special Rapporteur’s report here.

Explore what the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women stated about domestic violence in Canada following the 2018 mission to the country in July 2019 report.

See what the UN Committee against Torture said about gender-based violence in Canada in its Concluding Observations from December 2018.

Read the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada and its focus on multiple forms of gender-based violence.