As part of her advocacy initiatives to eradicate Domestic Violence (DV), ACFODE held a Policy Dialogue with stakeholders at national level to discuss implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (2010). The event took place on the 7th April 2016 at Fairway Hotel, Kampala.
During this event, a policy brief highlighting gaps and recommendations for effective implementation of the DVA was presented with an aim of identifying mechanisms and strategies. In attendance were representatives from Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS), Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU), Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Development partners, members of the DVA Coalition and other Civil Society Actors, Community Agents of Change (CACs) from Apac district and media. This added up to 61 participants (48 females and 13 males).
While giving the opening remarks, Ms. Regina Bafaki ACFODE’s Executive Director noted that cases of domestic violence are still prevalent despite the enacting of the DVA in 2010. She also noted that some of the duty bearers are not aware of the existence of this Law. “As much as the DVA was enacted in 2010, we are still having challenges of the Gender Based Violence not being reported and some of the duty bearers do not have the Domestic Violence Act 2010 in their Offices. It’s one thing to have a law in place and it’s also another thing to have it implemented; if all of us are committed, we have the capacity to address domestic violence”, she remarked.
ACFODE Executive Director, Ms Regina Bafaki commenting on domestic violence during the policy dialogue
Ms. Florence Muhwezi, ACFODE’s Chairperson highlighted that 83% of the cases of domestic violence in Apac have been reported by women in the last one year according to CFPU report. She therefore called for commitment from all participants to intervene so that these women can seek justice and be helped. “As Actors of DVA, what actions can we take even at an individual level to end Domestic Violence?” asked the Chairperson as she concluded her remarks.
Across the country at least 56% of women aged 15-49 years, translating into 4 Million, report having ever experienced Domestic violence. Violence is just not physical; 28% of the Ugandan women report having ever experienced sexual violence according to the 2011 UDHS report.
According to the economic costs of DV study by CEDOVIP in 2012 it was estimated that DV incidents cost the economy UGX 77 Billion annually. “That is how much we are losing as a country to Domestic Violence. A figure much higher than the entire annual budget for the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD) and therefore if the mother ministry is not well funded to deal with the issues of domestic violence, the vice is likely to escalate,” Mr. Mukumbi Richard, a women’s rights activist and Board member ACFODE added.
A participant sharing ideas on how to stop domestic violence during the policy dialogue
Mr. Makumbi further stressed that challenges like lack of awareness of the provisions under the DVA by duty bearers, limited capacity to fully implement domestic violence activities, corruption in institutions such as police, social acceptance of violence against women, Health workers lacking expertise in collecting evidence related to DV incidences are some of the things that are hindering efforts to fight against Domestic Violence.
By the end of the policy dialogue, recommendations were made and these included; need to consider the inclusion of people with disabilities in interventions, need for the MGLSD and local governments to budget & plan for the translation of the DVA into the locally spoken languages and that MOH should ensure that health facilities allocate funds to support health workers who provide medical-legal evidence in courts.
Additional recommendations were training of duty bearers (LCs, Police, Courts of law, Probation officers & health workers), allocating funds on an incremental level every year and ensuring that DV work is scaled up to all the districts and finally increasing funding to the MGLSD to coordinate the activities geared at eliminating domestic violence.
Gender and Economic Policy Department