Domestic Violence in Lagos State
The Lagos State Protection Against Domestic Violence Law (PADVL) was passed in 2007. The PADVL expressly states that no person shall commit an act of domestic violence against another person. Domestic violence is also known as domestic abuse.
Types of Domestic Violence in Lagos
The PADVL lists specific types of domestic violence which the Law makes illegal. They include the following
- Physical abuse – this includes physically hitting another person
- Sexual abuse exploitation – this is including but not limited to rape, incest, and sexual assault;
- Starvation – this is the deprivation of food and sustenance.
- Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse – this means a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards a person, including repeated insults, ridicule or name calling as to cause emotional pain; repeated threats to cause emotional pain; or the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy which constitute a serious invasion of the person’s privacy, liberty, integrity or security;
- Economic abuse and exploitation – this is unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources which a person is legally entitled to or which the person requires out of necessity, including household necessities for the complainant, and mortgage bond repayments or payment of rent in respect of the shared residence; or the unreasonably disposal or seizure of household effects or other property belonging to a person;
- Denial of basic education; deprivation and stalking
- Intimidation – this is means threatening or conveying a threat which induces fear, anxiety;
- Harassment- means engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces the fear of harm to a complainant including repeatedly watching, or loitering outside of or near the building or place where the person resides, works, carries on business, studies and place of recreation after studies; repeatedly making telephone calls or inducing another person to make telephone calls to the complainant, whether or not conversation ensues; repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other objects to the complainant;
- Hazardous attack including acid both with offensive or poisonous substance;
- Damage to property; or illegal entry into someone’s residence without consent where the parties do not share the same residence; or any other controlling or abusive behavior towards someone, where such conduct harms or may cause imminent harm to the safety, health or well being of the person;
Who can be a Victim or Perpetrator of Domestic Violence?
For you to be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence or domestic abuse, the law says you must be in a domestic relationship with the other party. Domestic relationship includes where both parties are spouses; where both parties live or lived together in a romantic relationship ; where both parties are the parents of a child or are persons who have or had parental responsibility for a child; where both parties are family members e.g. siblings, cousins etc.; where both parties are or were in an engagement, dating or romantic relationship for any duration; where both parties share or recently shared the same residence, including housemaid, domestic servants or staff, house keepers etc.
What protection does the Law have for Victims of Domestic Violence?
Apart from criminal action that can be taken against perpetrators of domestic violence in Nigeria, the Law creates specific protections for victims of domestic violence. Under the PADVL a person who is a victim of domestic violence can apply to court for a Protection Order. A protection order is an order of a court that prohibits the perpetrator from committing any act of further domestic violence; prohibits the perpetrator from entering the victim’s residence, workplace; and in some instances mandates the perpetrator to pay emergency monetary relief to the victim in cases where the victim is economically tied to the perpetrator.
Under the Law, this protection order can be applied for as an interim order, which means that the Judge will grant the order immediately on application, without actually informing the perpetrator to ‘hear his/her side’. After the order is granted, the court will then set a date for the alleged perpetrator to come to court to give his/her side and defend themselves against the allegations.
The Interim Protection Order is used as a way to protect the victim, as that is the more vulnerable person. The court gives the victim the benefit of the doubt when granting an interim protection order. However, in order to grant the interim protection order, the court will need to be satisfied that the alleged perpetrator is committing or has committed an act of domestic violence; and that undue hardship may be suffered by the victim as a result of such domestic violence if a protection order is not issued immediately.
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
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