Fellow: Nsini Udonta
Grant Year: 2018
City: Lagos, Nigeria
Organization: Project Alert on Violence Against Women
Project title: Improving Judicial Process for Implementation of the Protection Against Domestic Violence Law in Lagos State
Project summary: Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey findings from 2013 reveal that 28% of women ages 15 – 19 have experienced physical domestic abuse. This figure does not include other forms of domestic violence or the thousands of cases that go unreported every day. Lagos State passed the Domestic Violence Law in 2007 requiring all cases of domestic violence be presented and processed within 72 hours in order to protect survivors of abuse. However, these cases are taking longer than 72 hours because they are being assigned to the standard Administrative Judge along with a large number of general cases.
Due to this challenge in the judicial process, Project Alert on Violence Against Women will advocate with the Chief Judge of Lagos to create a special registry in the Lagos State courts to fast-track the hearings for domestic violence cases within 72 hours, as stated by the law. Drawing together the expertise and experience of Project Alert staff, a select group of women and girls from Ikosi and Agege Local Government Areas, and justice system stakeholders, including Lagos State judges, police chiefs and officers of the Lagos Chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association, Project Alert will highlight the current gaps in the implementation of the Domestic Violence Law and the need for the special registry to fast-track these cases to protect survivors and their rights. Together these groups will develop the special registry along with guidelines, including roles and responsibilities for each key institution, for addressing domestic violence cases in ways that protect the rights and well-being of survivors. This proposed project has the potential to protect almost 4.5 million women and girls in Lagos state from domestic violence.