Domestic Violence Act of 2010

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The Domestic Violence Act of 2010 (the “DVA”) defines and prohibits domestic violence. The penalty for domestic violence is imprisonment not to exceed two years or the payment of a fine not to exceed forty-eight currency points, or both. At the Court’s discretion, the perpetrator may also have to provide monetary compensation to the victim. Romantic and other familial relationships are “domestic,” and marriage is expressly not required. Domestic violence complaints may be brought before local council courts (“LC courts”) pursuant to the procedures outlined in the DVA, which require that the LC refer the matter to the police and local magistrate court if the perpetrator is a repeat offender, the perpetrator is likely to continue to harm the victim, and the LC court’s opinion is that police and magistrate court involvement is warranted. LC courts must also inform the police and magistrate if there are children involved in the domestic relationship. Appeals and other procedural details about LC court proceedings can be found in the Local Council Act of 2006. In complaints made to police officers, survivors have the right to give their statement to an officer of the same sex. The DVA requires that magistrate courts follow the Family and Children Court Rules (from the Children Act of 2006) in domestic violence cases. Finally, the DVA sets parameters for interim and permanent protection orders. The DVA and the Penal Code do not criminalize a husband’s rape of his wife, or so-called “marital rape.” A proposed bill, the Domestic Relations Bill of 2003, would criminalize such actions, but Parliament has repeatedly declined to pass it.

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