The NCHR International Department has had a long-term focus on domestic violence. Although domestic violence is connected to many different human rights, it was not until recently that it was recognized as a human rights issue in and of itself.
The traditional view has been that states can only be held accountable for what they do directly or through an agent of the state, acts by private individuals has therefore been defined as outside the scope of state responsibility.
This view has changed dramatically and although the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1978) does not directly deal with domestic violence directly, the CEDAW Committee in its General Recommendation no.19 in 1992 made it clear that CEDAW prohibits violence against women committed by both private and public actors. Other international instruments that have recognised domestic violence as a human rights issue are the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) and The Beijing Conference and Platform for Action (1995). The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention) (2014) characterises violence against women both as a violation of human rights and as a form of discrimination (Art.3(a))