This month, three men were convicted and sentenced for the crime of domestic violence in Gulu, Uganda.
The first conviction was in the case of a woman who was beaten by her former husband. He consistently pled not guilty, until he realized there were witnesses willing to testify against him in court. After he changed his plea to guilty, he was sentenced to serve 100 hours of community service and required to pay compensation to the victim. If he fails to comply, he will receive six months in prison.
In the second case, a woman was assaulted multiple times by her husband over the course of a few days, during which he also threatened to kill her. The sentencing was strong: two years imprisonment, which is the strongest sentencing IJM has received to date in a domestic violence case. He was remanded in jail for nine months as the trial proceeded, and will serve out the remainder of his sentence in prison.
In the third case, a woman who had been brutally beaten by her husband managed to escape to a neighboring village after filing a report against him. The husband pled not guilty and was placed in prison and denied bail. This was a significant decision by the court, as it allowed the survivor to feel safe from the perpetrator as the trial proceeded. This month, the husband changed his plea to guilty, and last week he was sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine paid to the survivor.
IJM began taking domestic violence cases in Gulu in 2018. In 2012 a study found that of the 1,880 patients admitted for trauma to Gulu Hospital, more than 24% were admitted due to trauma caused by domestic violence. In 2013 the Uganda Bureau of Statistics found that approximately 70% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 experience some form of violence by their spouse or partner. Across Uganda, IJM partners with the public justice system to ensure that women and children are protected from violence.