Mozambique Passes First Reading of Domestic Violence Law
Monday, July 27, 2009 10:48 AM

By a unanimous vote, the Mozambican parliament passed the first reading of a domestic violence law.  Currently, there is no law specific to domestic violence; perpetrators are instead prosecuted for assault. 

The new law would increase penalties: when assault, causing grievous bodily harm, or another similar crime occurs in a domestic violence situation, minimum and maximum prison sentences will increase by one-third.  However, the court may replace prison time with community service after “assessing the family situation.”

Under this law, domestic violence is defined as a “public crime,” meaning that prosecution does not require a victim to register a complaint.  The law also allows authorities to seize weapons in a batterer's possession and to try an offender in absentia if he flees.  Courts may issue an injunction ordering the batterer to stay away from the home and the children, or to prevent him from selling or removing jointly owned property.

The bill will face a final vote in mid-July after being amended in committee.

Compiled from: Mozambique: Assembly Passes Bill Against Domestic Violence,” (29 June 2009).