Sierra Leone: Increase in Domestic Violence Complaints – Report
A report put together by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has revealed an increase in domestic violence complaints recorded for 2012.
The report titled, ‘State of the Human Rights in Sierra Leone 2012′which was presented to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House on Tuesday August 13, 2013, noted that domestic violence complaints across the country increased from 2% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2011 and 6.8% in 2012.
According to the report, six years after the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act of 2007, gender-based violence (GBV), especially against women, remained a serious concern in addressing women’s rights.
“The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone recorded an increase in the number of complaints on GBV in 2012,” the report stated. “While the enactment of the sexual offences law will enhance the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls, government still needs to do more to end violence against women and girls and also change people’s inclination towards violence against this group.”
It was recommended that the ministry of social welfare, gender and children’s affairs take the lead role in popularizing, monitoring and supporting the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act, and parliament to prioritize the enactment of the Gender Equality Bill.
With regards juvenile justice, the report indicated that there were limited numbers of juvenile detention facilities in police stations nationwide and that there were also no remand homes in the northern and eastern regions.
“In Bo, three juvenile offenders were observed to be detained with adults in prison and police cells,” the report further noted. “Underage school children who were alleged to have committed election malpractices during the voter registration [exercise] were detained in Kenema police cells for over ten days without charge.”
The ministries of internal affairs and social welfare were urged to provide remand homes in all the districts, implement diversionary measures for lesser crimes committed by juveniles, and use detention only as a last resort.
The report also recommended that the government allocate more resources to juvenile justice administration, guided by minimum international standards.