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How has sexual and domestic violence been articulated as a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)? This book evaluates the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to address violence against women, specifically sexual violence, domestic violence and violence against girls. Influenced by human rights treaties and decisions internationally, it considers the case law of the ECtHR in order to answer this question, and to argue for better incorporation of gender-based violence into the existing human rights paradigm.
The book begins by questioning whether the current human rights paradigm can address women's human rights claims, or if this discourse should be abandoned altogether. It sets out a number of feminist theories, showing how they evolved, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and assessing them against the subject matter of the book. It then goes on to examine the way that rape is substantively defined and treated in human rights law, focusing particularly on Article 3 and 14 and in particular on the problematic distinction between public and private actors in determining the nature of the violation at issue. From here a procedural framework is developed, based on human rights principles for the handling of rape cases, and reconciling the positive duties towards complainants under Article 3 of the Convention and towards defendants under Article 6. The book then proceeds to examine how domestic violence (broadly conceived) is substantively treated under the Convention with reference to Articles 3, 5, 8, and 14, and also how the ECtHR is dealing with violence against girls. Drawing on the procedural framework developed earlier in the book, due consideration is given to the procedural requirements and positive duties emerging under the Convention to address domestic violence, before examining possible developments under Article 6 for extending the requirements for procedural fairness to victims.