Domestic Abuse Laws in Nigeria

Laws against Domestic abuse in Nigeria

Domestic abuse is the intentional and persistent abuse of anyone in the home in a way that causes pain, distress or injury. It can also be defined as a situation where a particular person is subjected to an act of force in the home which cause pain either physically, emotionally, psychologically and which infringes on the person’s rights. In Nigeria, women and girls are particularly subjected to multiple forms of violence and domestic abuse in the homes.

Apart from general laws that exist against violence like the Criminal Code and Penal Code which are applicable to all citizens and a myriad of relationships, Nigeria has created specific laws that deal with the issue of violence and abuse within domestic and private relationships.


Types of Domestic Abuse

Physical Abuse – Physical abuse can be defined as a maltreatment of a person which can result in harmful and adverse effects in respect of his or her physical health. Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, drowning, suffocating, burning or scalding a person. A recent form of violence against women in Nigeria is the use of acids,


Psychological and Emotional Abuse – this includes neglect, lack of proper care, verbal insults and generally interactions where the victim’s feeling of self-worth is  attacked and diminished.


Harmful Cultural Practices – Unfortunately in Nigeria, there are many cultural practices perpetrated against women which constitute a form of abuse to them. These include things like Female Genital Mutilation which is all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the female external genitalia and or injury to the female genital organs for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.  The procedure is typically performed on girls aged between four and thirteen, but in some cases, FGM is performed on newborn infants or on young women before marriage or pregnancy.


Laws that Prevent Domestic Abuse in Nigeria


Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act (VAPP) – This Law was passed in 2015 and it covers issues of sexual abuse and rape, domestic violence, and other related crimes. It was passed as a law only applicable in the FCT Abuja, however a number of States around the country have now passed their own versions of the Law applicable in the respective States. These States are Anambra, Bauchi, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna, and Oyo. Under the Law, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been mandated to administer the provisions of the Act.


Protection Against Domestic Violence Law (PADVL) – This Law was passed in 2007 and is only applicable in Lagos State. It specifies different types of domestic violence including things like sexual abuse exploitation, starvation, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, economic abuse and exploitation, denial of basic education, deprivation, harassment and intimidation. Read this article here to get more information about this Law and how it operates – PADVL in Lagos



Are you a victim of domestic violence in Lagos, or do you know someone who is a victim? Then you should seek legal assistance immediately. The Lagos State Government has set up a specific agency that protects the domestic violence victims, it is called the Lagos State Domestic Sexual and Violence Response Team. You may contact them at their website here – DSVRT Lagos,or with the contact details below:

ADDRESS: Head Office DSVRT,, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos..

PHONES: 112;  +234 8137960048


If you are in any of the States that have passed the VAPP Act into Law, then For support please contact NAPTIP by email at, and by phone on 08002255627847

If you are in any other State then please contact the Nigerian Police Force have emergency numbers that you can call, please find a list of the numbers for each State of the Federation here. The Nigerian Police have specific desks that will deal with issues of domestic and sexual violence.



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We hope you have found this information helpfulPlease note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. It is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer


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