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How well does the law protect women at home? An analysis of Nigeria’s domestic violence legislation

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe (Centre for Health Ethics Law and Development, Lagos, Nigeria)

International Journal of Law and Management

ISSN: 1754-243X

Article publication date: 12 March 2018

Issue publication date: 12 March 2018




The prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria may be described as epidemic. To address this scourge, several pieces of legislation have been enacted in the past decade at state and federal levels in Nigeria. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the emerging legislation on domestic violence. This paper thus examines the contents of these laws in a bid to determine the potential of these laws to prevent domestic violence, deter perpetrators from further incidents, punish perpetrators, compensate survivors and provide them with the necessary interventions for their rehabilitation.


The approach adopted is a content analysis of the provisions of the legislation, using salient parameters that have been drawn from documented best practices, specifically the key components for framing of domestic violence legislation around the world.


The author finds that while there is significant attempt in extant legislation to ensure that women are protected within domestic relationships, there are still gaps. Further, the protections are uneven across the states. In addition, there are systemic and contextual challenges that hamper the effectiveness of existing legislation in Nigeria in providing the necessary protections to women.


This study analyses the provisions of some of the legislation currently in place to protect persons from domestic violence. The impact, potential effect and overall utility of these pieces of legislation continue to require examination.



Onyemelukwe, C. (2018), "How well does the law protect women at home? An analysis of Nigeria’s domestic violence legislation", International Journal of Law and Management, Vol. 60 No. 2, pp. 186-209.



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