In 2016, the Protection from Domestic Violence Act was amended to provide, inter alia, for severe penalties to perpetrators of domestic violence. In view of the new challenges and the varied forms of violence afflicting women, the amendment widened the definition of the term “domestic violence” by including stalking, physical, emotional, sexual violence and threatened violence, and economic abuse as forms of domestic violence; and the definition of “spouse” was also revisited to mean a person who:
- is or has been civilly or religiously married to a person of the opposite sex;
- is living or has lived with a person of the opposite sex as husband and wife; or
- whether living together or not with a person of the opposite sex, has a common child with that person.
Provision was also made in the 2016 Act for:
(a) increasing the powers of Enforcement Officers;
(b) empowering a police officer not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent to arrest a person where he has reason to suspect that the person committed, is committing or is likely to commit an act of domestic violence and to cause him to be brought before a Magistrate at the earliest opportunity; and
(c) increase in penalty to perpetrators.
Source of Information