Journey to enhancing access to domestic violence Justice in Kenya
The Protection Against Domestic Violence Act (PADV) 2015 defines Domestic Violence (DV) as any form of violence against a person, threat of violence or impending danger to that person, by any other person with whom that person is, or has been, in a domestic relationship. Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) consists of a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, psychological /emotional and economic abuse, by a current or former intimate partner.
The act Provides for the protection and assistance of victims of DV / IPV including protection of a spouse and any children or other dependent persons. By enacting this legislation, Kenya fulfilled the international conventions that protect individuals against violence, and also achieved implementation of the Constitution as contemplated in Articles 10, 28, 29, 43 and 45.
The Act recognizes domestic violence, in all its forms, as unlawful behavior and provides for the protection and relief of members of a family from domestic violence; makes provisions to ensure that, where domestic violence occurs, there is effective legal protection for its victims ; empowers the police to take action against domestic violence; empowers the courts to make orders to protect victims of domestic violence; empowers the survivor and other individuals and institutions to take action against domestic violence.
Article 34 of the PADV Act directs the Rules Committee (Established under section 81 of the Civil Procedure Act, chapter 21; revised edition 2012(2010). to make rules to regulate any matter of practice or procedure under this Act. These rules may prescribe (a) the procedure to be followed and the forms to be used under this Act; (b) the time within which documents are to be filed and served under this Act; and (c) the contents of orders to be issued under this Act.
In the spirit of supporting the operationalization and implementation of the PADV Act, LVCT Health joined other like-minded civil societies and GBV advocates in partnership with duty bearers from the judiciary and legal fraternity to conduct consultative forums towards development of the rules for regulation. The targeted outcome of this exercise was to strengthen access to justice and promote human rights particularly for survivors of Gender based violence.
So far, the rules and regulations have been signed off by the Chief justice of Kenya. They await to be printed in the government gazette and official launch. LVCT Health, with the support of Frontline Aids will in the coming year (2021) champion for the conclusion of this process and subsequent National launch, dissemination through regional/county technical working groups (TWGs) and stakeholders including the beneficiary communities.