The European Court of Human Rights and Domestic Violence

By Ronagh McQuigg.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Domestic violence is an issue that affects vast numbers of women throughout the world. It seems to constitute a clear violation of at least three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, however it has only been recognised as being a human rights issue relatively recently. Indeed, until 2007 domestic violence had not been directly addressed by the European Court of Human Rights. However, the Court has now addressed the issue in a series of recent cases. The provisions of the European Convention tend to be framed in a negative manner, in the sense that they prohibit the state from taking various actions. However, the European Court has interpreted the Convention in such a manner as to place positive duties on states to take steps to ensure that the rights of individuals are not breached by other private individuals. This paper will discuss what positive obligations states parties to the Convention now have in relation to the issue of domestic violence. It will then proceed to discuss the gaps in the Court’s jurisprudence in this area at present and how the case law of the Court may develop in the future.

Keywords: Human Rights Law, Domestic Violence, European Court of Human Rights, Positive Obligations

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.433-438. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.018KB).

Dr. Ronagh McQuigg

Lecturer, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

I obtained a LL.B. with First Class Honours in 2002 and a LL.M. in Human Rights Law with Distinction in 2003, both from Queen’s University Belfast. I was awarded a Ph.D. in 2006, also by Queen’s University. I qualified as a solicitor in 2008 and joined the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, as a lecturer in 2009. My research interests are in the area of international human rights law, particularly in relation to how human rights law can be used as regards violence against women.


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