Judiciary

Domestic violence: British Council trains magistrates, judges in Lagos

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In an effort to reduce domestic violence in Lagos State, the British Council has trained about 100 magistrates and judges on Protection Against Domestic Violence Law.

The British Council organised the training through its Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) programme,  funded by the European Union.

The Lead Consultant for the training, Prof. Ayo Atsuwa, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, said that the training focused on the safety of vulnerable persons such as domestic servants, spouse, physically challenged and persons.

She said that the law had been there but had little or no effects on victims, as its provisions had yet to be explored for the safety of victims.

Atsuwa said that the involvement of many non-governmental organisations, human rights groups and civil societies in creating awareness against domestic violence showed that the menace was in the increase.

The don urged judges and magistrates to raise awareness on the law and ensure  safety.

She said that many people were facing challenges at home in the hands of those they would not want to expose, adding that the law allowed another person to bring  applications before the court on behalf of such victims.

Atsuwa said that counsellors, health service providers,  police, social workers, organisations or teachers could bring such applications in court provided they had the consent of the complainant.

She said that an application for the protection of a minor, mentally challenged and unconscious, who might be  unable to consent, would not need their consent.

The Coordinator of RoLAC in Lagos State, Mrs Ajibola Ajimakiwa, said that the two-day training was to build the capacity of justice stakeholders in the state to apply the provisions of the law.

Ajimakiwa said that the training was to build capacity toward increased application and utilisation of the provisions of the law, to resolve criminal cases and apply the newly signed practice direction.

She said that in spite of laudable achievements in implementing some provisions of the law, more would still need to be done.

“The reasons are largely due to public ignorance of the existence of the law and its protective nature and limited knowledge on the provisions of the law.

Lagos State Judiciary would be able to effectively understand the law itself and the guiding principles when presiding over cases of domestic violence in court, thereby advancing the implementation of the law,” she said.

Edited by Bayo Sekoni/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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