Women survivors of violence should be compensated for the harm they suffer

On this momentous occasion, we are dedicating our 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, to the recognition of the right of women survivors of violence to compensation, an issue we have been working on for 2 years now.

We have dedicated ourselves to this work because although the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women Law has been around since 2009, Article 6 and Article 41 on the right of compensation, has not been routinely actioned or put to practise by justice actors, lawyers and prosecutors.

Pursuant to the law, perpetrators of violence against women are liable to pay compensation for actions which cause spiritual and material damages – in addition to other monetary and non-monetary forms of punishment. The aim of compensation is not to eradicate harm, but to restore a person to his/her original position (as best as is possible). It serves as a “legal consideration” for the harm incurred.

Fortunately, MA defence lawyers have been trained on how to assess damages in compensation claims, which is a highly specific and technical discipline in law. We have studied the laws and methods of other countries and indeed, we are proud to share that we have been successful in obtaining USD$ 12,317.00 for our clients in 2017 and 2018 – though it was, at times, a tough battle.

We write this message to encourage you to put a step forward to achieve justice and the elimination of violence against women by improving women’s access to their right of compensation.

We believe that by doing so, we will be taking an extra step towards eliminating violence against women.

We are proud to share our Legal Memo on Compensation on this international day. We are pushing to bring awareness to the right of survivors to compensation and obligation of offenders to pay compensation. We ask that defence lawyers, prosecutors be appreciated and together we could make compensation claim a part our court practice.

This Legal Memo will be helpful to all practitioners in both criminal and civil cases concerning actions which result in harm.

We kindly request you, our Honourable colleagues, to encourage all to improve women’s right to compensation by sharing this Legal Memo with the rest of your colleagues.

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