NOVEMBER 12, 2009: Uganda Passes Domestic Violence Bill

Parliament Passes Domestic Violence Bill

SOURCE: New Vision

By Catherine Bekunda and Cyprian Musoke

Kampala — PARLIAMENT yesterday passed the Domestic Violence Bill.

The Bill provides for the protection of victims of domestic violence and seeks to punish the crime perpetrators.

The MPs expressed hope that the Bill would reduce domestic abuse.

"Police statistics show that 40% of crimes committed in 2008 were crimes of passion or related to domestic violence," noted Betty Amongi (Independent).

 Domestic violence complaints will be made to a Police officer and local council court.

Cases will then be tried by the local councils, the magistrates' courts or family and children courts, depending on the magnitude of the offense.

Previously, such matters were referred to clan heads or the local council.

The law stops the social tolerance of domestic violence by making it clear that the crime is not justified, explained Ben Wacha (Independent).

He said women in the Lango region used to believe that husbands who did not beat their wives did not love them.

Beatrice Byenkya (NRM) called for the sensitisation of the public and the involvement of religious leaders if the law is to be effective.

According to the law, anyone who suspects domestic violence can report it to the local authorities.

It empowers local council courts to make written referrals to the Police and the magistrates' courts or High Court if the perpetrator is a second or repeat offender.

The magistrate's court will then issue a protection order if it has confirmed that the perpetuator has committed, is committing or threatening to commit an act of domestic violence...

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