Al Jazeera News :
A new law in Morocco criminalising violence against women goes into effect on Wednesday, in what critics say is merely a first step in the right direction.
Approved by parliament on February 14, the bill imposes tougher penalties on perpetrators of various types of violence committed both in the private and public spheres, including rape, sexual harassment and domestic abuse. Locally known as Hakkaoui law after family affairs and women's issues minister Bassima Hakkaoui, the legislation also declares the definition of sexual harassment,
including unsolicited acts, statements or signals of a sexual nature, delivered in person, online or via telephone.
Along with harassment, there are also measures stipulating punishment for people who try to force someone into a marriage using violence or the threat of violence.
Those found guilty of violating the law face prison terms ranging from one month to five years and fines from $200 to $1,000.
While welcoming the law, critics say it stops short of addressing the full repertoire of crimes.
More specifically, the legislation does not explicitly outlaw marital rape or spousal violence, and does not provide a precise definition of domestic violence, leaving women vulnerable.