Jun 5, 2015

THE VIOLENCE AGAINST PERSONS ACT 2015 (PART 1)


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The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 recently signed into law is an act to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders in Abuja.

The law begins in Section 1 by defining rape as the intentional penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person if such person does not consent to the said penetration or if the consent is obtained by force or means of threat or intimidation. It also recognises that women can commit rape as well.  Section 2 states that a person if found guilty of rape will be liable to imprisonment for life except where the offender is less than 14 years in which such person will be liable to a maximum of 12 years in prison, however, in other cases such person can only be sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison. If the rape is however committed by a group of persons, the offenders are liable jointly to a maximum of 20 years imprisonment without option of fine and the court shall also award compensation to the victim. The law also states that a register of convicted sex offenders shall be maintained and accessible to the public.


The new law also provides that anyone who wilfully causes or inflicts physical injury on another commits an  offence and is liable on conviction to a jail term not exceeding 5 years in prison or a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or both.
Also anyone who incites, aids, abets or counsels another person to commit an act of violence is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding N200, 000 or both. The court may also award compensation to the victim.

Furthermore, according to the law, coercing another to engage in acts that are detrimental to the person’s physical or psychological well being is an offence and a person is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 3 years.  Anyone who also wilfully places a person in fear of physical injury commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year to a fine not exceeding of N100, 000.

Compelling another to commit an act either sexual or otherwise, to the detriment of the victim’s physical or psychological well being is an offence and a guilty party is liable on conviction to a jail term not exceeding 2years.

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It is worthy to note that the law prohibits female circumcision and offenders will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 4 years or to a fine not exceeding N200, 000 or both. An attempt to commit the act also attracts a jail term not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding N100,000 or both.

The law also provides for forceful ejection from the home wherein a person who forcefully evicts a spouse or refuses them access commits an offence and liable to a jail term not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding N300,000 or both. The law also states that depriving another of his or her liberty without a court order is an offence and a person convicted is liable to a jail term not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding N500, 000.
Causing mischief or destruction of property with intent to case distress is also an offence and a guilty party will be liable to jail term not exceeding two years in prison or a fine not exceeding N300, 000.

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Another offence is also forcefully isolating a person from friends and family and a guilty person on conviction will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or both.
Furthermore, a person who causes emotional, verbal and psycholoical abuse on another also commits an offence and is liable on conviction to jail time not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or both. Subjecting a widow to harmful traditional practices is also an offence under the Act and offenders will be liable to jail term not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding N500, 000 or both.

Kindly look forward to further write ups on the Legalnaija blog where I will be sharing the other provisions contained in the Violence Against Persons Act 2015. 

 Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq
@adedunmade

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