VAPP ACT signed into law; May 25th, 2015
On Monday the 25th of May 2015, the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan signed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill (2013) into law. The new Act aims to ‘Eliminate Violence in Private and Public Life, Prohibit All Forms of Violence Against Persons, and to Provide Maximum Protection and Effective Remedies for Victims and Punishment of Offenders’. The law addressing the gap in current laws on violence in private and public spaces, addressing old as well as new forms of violence; establishing institutional mechanisms to prohibit violence and a regulatory body for administrating the Act’s provisions, including a coordinator for the [prevention of domestic violence.
The VAPP Bill is the result of a 14–year-long process of activism in the civil society that began at a legislative advocacy workshop on the violence against women in 2001 in Abuja. By the end of the workshop, participants agreed to form a coalition – the Legislative Advocacy Coalition Against Violence Against Women (LACVAW) – to pursue the goal of pushing for a National Bill prohibiting violence against women.
The content of the Bill is home grown, reflecting the realities of violence in Nigeria today even as it incorporates provisions based on Nigeria’s commitment to international human rights principles. First presented to the House of Representative in May 2002, the Bill on the Violence Against Women became a Bill on Violence Against Persons in 2008 when it was harmonised with 8 other Bills on gender based violence in the National Assembly.