The Violence Against Persons Act (VAAP Act)
The recent surge in rape, femicide, and domestic violence have necessitated a call to action by concerned individuals and stakeholders all over the country.
It is in this regard that the National Agency for Prohibition in Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) was recently named as the service provider under the VAAP Act. The VAAP Act seeks to prohibit any and all acts of violence against all people, groups, classes, gender, and age. This means the VAAP Act seeks to protect us all.
Some of the laws covered under the VAAP Act include:
- Rape: Rape under the VAAP ACT protects both males and females against rape, previous rape laws protected only against forceful penetration meaning a man or boy who was raped could not get justice because he was not penetrated. Rape under the VAAP act has been expanded to mean forcefully obtaining consent; this means if a student is forced to sleep with a lecturer to pass her course, it is rape. If an employee or a candidate is forced to sleep with a senior official for a job, promotion, or favor it is rape. If a person is forced to perform a sexual activity because they have been threatened, intimidated or fear for their life, it is rape. Rape under the VAAP act attracts the penalty of Life in Prison.
- Prohibition of female genital mutilation: A person who does this plus a person who incites aides, and the one who enables it are all guilty under VAAP Act. This means if Mama comes and says it is their culture and husband and wife do not stop mama or report her they are also guilty.
- Abandonment of children, spouses, and another dependency without means of sustenance: ” I don’t want the marriage again” or I didn’t tell her to get pregnant”, this offense is a year in prison or 100k,000 naira option of fine. This means that anyone who does not want to continue with a marital union must take the right steps to legally dissolve it. And if you have kids with baby mama, go to social welfare and set up a monthly plan to care for them. Just getting up and leaving them without taking any form of responsibility is a crime.
- Women who are running away from bad and unhealthy marriages should ensure they report to the police station and have their cases documented. They should also report to social welfare because if you run, leave your kids this law can be used against you by a vindictive spouse.
- Forceful Ejection from Home: Anyone who does not wish to continue with marriage must do so through the legal procedure. And, not forcibly eject or throw out the wife and her belongings on to the streets. This is a crime that is punishable with a 2-year jail term.
- Spousal battery: This applies to both genders; a 3-year prison term.
- Incest; 5-year prison term
- Compensation of Victims; Unlike other criminal laws VAAP act provides for victims to receive compensation.
- Protection of Victims; The act provides that victims of abuse should be protected during legal proceedings. Identity of minors protected.
- Harmful widowhood practices, Abduction, harmful traditional practices, attack with harmful substances, date rape, damage to property with intention of causing distress ( breaking your boyfriend or girlfriends phone or windscreen for cheating), deprivation of liberty, forced isolation, forced financial dependence or economic abuses ( My wife will not work and then you make her beg and grovel for every kobo)forced separation from family, stalking, are prohibited under the act.
- Political Violence: 4-year prison term.
Always remember to take all the necessary steps to report violent acts is:
- Report to the Police in states where we do not have NAPTIP.
- Ask for the gender desk at the police station, if they fail to attend to your complaint call 08057000001 police complain hotline.
- Or NAPTIP hotline: 07030000203
- Lagos State Domestic violence law complain hotline: 112, 08137960048
- FCT domestic violence complain hotline: 112, 08078111126