NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – The National Gender and Equality Commission on Thursday called for the amendment to the Protection against Domestic Violence Act 2015 to provide for establishment of safe houses for survivors of domestic violence.
Whereas laws that criminalise domestic violence are stringent in punishing perpetrators, they commission said they have gaps in terms of protection of survivors.
“Consider amendments to the Protection against Domestic Violence Act, 2015 to provide for a framework of establishment of shelters or safe houses for survivors or would-be victims of domestic violence. These shelters will serve both men and women,” Chairperson Winfred Lichuma stated.
According to the Protection against Domestic Violence Act 2015 and Victim Protection Act 2014, victims of domestic violence are entitled to protection, compensation and restitution during criminal trial proceedings and also allow for civil proceedings against the offender.
Lichuma was however concerned that rules of procedure to operationalise compensation proceedings under Section 34 of the Protection against Domestic Violence Act, 2015 had not been promulgated.
She appealed to Attorney General Githu Muigai to follow up on the act to ensure its operationalisation.
Lichuma was concerned that domestic violence cases in the country had escalated and at their worst were leading to deaths and serious injuries resulting to permanent disability.
Citing the case of Jackline Mwende whose hands were chopped off by her husband, Lichuma said no person should be allowed to get away with assault and battery.
She appealed to the Inspector General of Police to fast track all cases of domestic violence in the country to ensure culprits are punished to discourage others from attacking their families.
Lichuma is further urging members of the society to unite and speak against domestic violence saying both men and women are victims and survivors of such acts.
“We urge the Inspector General of Police to ensure speedy and thorough investigations into all matters relating to domestic and gender based violence and bring the perpetrators to book. Society must speak out against all forms of violence and actions that violate human rights as provided in the Constitution.”
Mwende’s husband was said to have attacked her on the basis that she could not bear children.
Her case has caused uproar and condemnation.