Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
Women's campaigners and activists in Angola are celebrating a notable victory in Angola - a law that finally criminalises domestic violence and offers protection to victims and their families.
After ten years of work, the law guarantees support to victims, through safe houses, medical treatment and financial and legal help. In addition, violence has been designated as a "public crime", which means anyone can report it to the police, not just the victim.
The law articulates new definitions of domestic violence, which include withholding food from a child, failing to adequately support a pregnant woman and sexually abusing a minor or elderly person in your care - as well as outlawing traditional marriages with girls under the age of 14.
Sizaltina Cutaia, from the Angolan office of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) welcomed the legislation. But she said it was not guaranteed that the pledges made in the law would be supported in practice.
"As a country in general we do not have very good records in terms of law enforcement and there too many examples to show that," she told IPS.
"I think that the adoption of the law is a great starting point but there needs to be resources allocated to provide training to police officers (both male and female) as well as to educate the population, particularly women and girls, about the content of the law and the processes that one needs follow in order to report violence."
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