AN EXAMINATION OF A STANDARD LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Domestic violence is an issue of global concern. Historically, in many cultures domestic violence has been an accepted fact of life. In recent years, however, it has begun to be viewed as a criminal problem. Domestic violence is form of violation of person’s human rights or abuse of anyone in a way that causes pain, distress or injury.  In many African countries, as in other countries around the world, women suffer violence on the basis of their gender. Unfortunately, many countries lack legislation that provides effective protections against gender-based violence. Evidence from Nigeria, including the passage of new legislation at federal and state levels, suggests some progress. How effective such laws will be is yet to be seen. This research begins the process of investigating the potential for the effectiveness of these new laws by conducting an in-depth analysis of Nigeria’s recently enacted Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015. This examines the relevance of the Act and its significance for issues around violence against women. This critique investigates the provisions of the Act alongside internationally accepted best practices and standards on legislation against gender-based violence. From this analysis, the research identifies gaps within the provisions articulated in the Act. It also examines the place of the VAPP Act amongst the pantheon of extant laws addressing violence against women. It argues that, by itself, the law will have only a limited impact, in part because of its limited geographical reach. This impact can only be moderated by intensive advocacy to ensure that this legislation is adopted by all States in the federation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CASES
TABLE OF STATUTES
LIST OF ABBREVIATION

CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.0.0    BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.1.0    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.2.0    SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.3.0    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.4.0    AIM ND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1.5.0    RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.6.0    STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY

CHAPTER TWO
2.0.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
 2.1.0 CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
2.2.0 REASON TO STAY
2.3.0 MOTIVATIONS PROTECTIVE FACTORS
2.4.0 RESEARCH USING QUALITATIVE INTERVIEWS
2.5.0 RURAL WOMEN AND RECENT IMMIGRANTS
2.6.0 RESOURCES FOR ABUSED WOMEN
2.7.0 NEED FOR RESEARCH ON RESOURCE EFFECTIVENESS
2.8.0 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS/CONCEPTS

CHAPTER THREE
3.0.0 NATURE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
3.1.0 EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
3.2.0 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE
3.3.0 CAUSES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
3.4.0 EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
3.5.0 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMONG THE THREE ETHNIC GROUP IN NIGERIA
 3.6.0   PREVALENT FACTORS LEADING TO DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER FOUR
4.0.0    THE NIGERIAN LEGAL FRAME WORK AND IT PROTECTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
4.1.0    PREVALENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
4.2.0    LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
 4.3.0   CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF EXISTING LEGAL FRAMEWORK AS REGARDS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
4.4.0    ROLES OF LAW IN ELIMINATING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NINERIA
4.5.0    INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
4.6.0    AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHT
4.7.0    THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
4.8.0    DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
4.9.0    CHILD RIGHTS ACT
4.10     THE CONSTITUTION OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
4.11     THE CRIMINAL CODE/PENAL CODE
4.12     FAILURE OF THE LAW TO PROTECT
4.13     COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF NIGERIAN LAW ON MARITAL RAPE WITH BRITISH JURISDICTION
4.14     LAW OF TORT

CHAPTER FIVE
5.0.0    CONCLUSION
5.1.0    RECOMMENDATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY

CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
                 1.0 .0     BACKGROUD TO THE STUDY
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. It is also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, family violence and intimate partner violence. It is violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic   violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.
Domestic violence is a social problem in Nigeria like many other parts of Africa. Domestic violence is an issue of global concern. Some societies see it as norms, and they culturally accepted it as part of life. It was recorded that in the United States of America, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner related physical assaults. In parts of the third world generally and in West African, in particular domestic violence is prevalent and reportedly justified and condoned in some cultures.
Domestic violence is a social problem in Nigeria like many other parts of Africa. Reports from Humanitarian New Agency [1] show that 25 percent of women in Dakar and Kaolack in segenal are subjected to physical violence from their partners and that very few admit that they are beaten. They would be told never to report such cases to anyone; as such they are told to keep quiet and endure the beatings. In Ghana, spousal assaults top to the list of domestic violence without any serious punishment or prosecution of any sort. In Nigeria, [2]  it was reported that a third [and in some cases two-third ] of women believe to have been subjected to physical, sexual and  psychological violence  carried out primarily by husbands, partner fathers while girls are often forced to early marriage and at risk of punishment if they attempt to escape from their husbands. There is sadly a deep cultural belief in Nigeria that it is socially acceptable to hit women as a form of discipline. Violence against women is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women.
One third of women in Nigeria were believed to be subjected to physical, sexual and psychological violence carried out by husband, partners or father.  Common forms of violence against women in Nigeria are battering, sexual abuse of children, marital rape, acid attacks molestation, corporal punishment and Homicide. The victims of domestic violence are women, men, boys, and girls. However, women and girls are most affected.[3] The purpose is to create sensitization in the area of gender based violence in Nigeria, as the victims most often suffer in silence and fail to seek help due to patriarchal nature of the society. Attempt to preserve unity in the relationship or family while in some cases they sacrifice their lives in the process.
Domestic violence affects men and women of all ages, races, religions and incomes. However due to the nature of domestic violence, it is often a hidden social problem. The ‘indivisibility’ of the problem is largely to the belief that, it is a private family matter, which should not be made known to outsiders. This problem is not confined only to Nigeria but is a world –wide concern.  In 1994, the World Bank compiled a study of domestic violence experienced by women in 25 countries.[4] It is estimated that one in every three women worldwide are victims of intimate partner violence.  Domestic violence has a long history but it was only ‘uncovered’ in the 1970s when women’s movement highlighted the problems and demanded that it should be addressed. 
On a daily basis, the media reports of domestic violence, spousal killings, brutalization and sexual abuses on women and children. Marriage which in the past was the dream of every eligible man and woman has suddenly become viewed with sense of evil. It is no longer news that aspiring young men and women dreads to walk down the aisle of marital life for fear of uncertainties as a result of related incidents of domestic violence. Unfortunately, despite the fact that these violent acts continue to cripple the foundation of many families and by extension the fabric of society, nothing much has been achieved in checking the menace. Recent rise in the incidents of domestic violence has brought to the fact that something has gone fundamentally wrong with the institution of marriage. The rise in domestic violence is not helped by seeming non-challant attitude being displayed by not only the victim but the society at large.  Today, men, women and children have become punching bags, molested, raped and violated at will. It is not always easy to determine in the early stage of marital relationship, if one spouse will become abusive. Abusers may often seem wonderful and perfect initially, but gradually become more aggressive and controlling as the relationship continues. Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. However, despite the apologies violence and control always intensifies over time with an abuser.
 1.1.0     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria is yet to enact a gender sensitive and specific legislation on domestic violence at its national level. Although, this country does not have a law that specifically outlaws domestic violence, it has recently enacted the 2015 Violence against Person Prohibition Act [VPPA] as well as few state laws on domestic violence. The enactment of any legislation on domestic violence is a step in the right direction. However, this research will attempt to show that it is merely a first step. Arguably, relying on any domestic violence legislation as the expectant savior of women from domestic violence in Nigeria is essentially a mere illusion and fallacy. As such, this study would show how Nigeria could instead benefit from a multi-faceted approach in attempts to curb domestic violence.
Domestic violence occurs in all country, rich or poor, developed, or developing, with no regard to caste, creed, color, social status, wealth, urban or rural residence, or the ages of victim and aggressor.
 1.2.0    THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research work is only limited to the regulatory framework for prevention of domestic violence in Nigeria.
 1.3.0     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study it significant in the sense that it  revealed that domestic violence has caused serious harm, injury and it is an issue affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender race, religion or nationality. These directly or indirectly have negative effects on women, men, boys and girls in Nigeria. The research will educate individuals and families through teachings in seminars, conferences, public lectures to religious organizations in the church and mosques, in public religious gatherings. The knowledge gained from such teaching will broaden the knowledge of men to consider women as instrument for the change because when women are educated, the whole family will be educated either directly or indirectly. The findings of this study are to prevent and eradicate domestic violence in Nigeria.



[1] Integrated Regional Information Network [IRIN [2007]
[2] Amnesty international [2007]
[3] Texila international journal of Academic Research volume3, issue 2, December 2016
[4][ Heise, Pitanguy, and Germaine, 1994]

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