Liberia: Senate Concurs With House On Domestic Violence Bill

The Liberian Senate on Thursday, 18 July passed the Domestic Violence Bill, concurring with the House of Representatives which earlier passed the instrument.

Bill indicates in Chapter 16.21 that a person in a domestic relationship who engages in an act which results to domestic violence as defined by the Act commits an offense of domestic violence and shall be guilty of such crime.

The Domestic Violence Act was sent to the Senate Committees on Health and Gender and Judiciary.

It defines Domestic Violence as any act of violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, men, or children, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life between parties in an existing or former domestic relationship.

The Bill addresses the concerns of threats to commit or committing acts constituting economic abuse; deliberately preventing a person from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, and use and enjoyment of conjugal property or property owned in common.

Further, the Bill addresses issues of threats to deprive a person of a legal right; cause or attempt to cause a person to engage in any sexual activity which does not constitute rape by force, threat or intimidation.

Attempts to unlawfully restrict a person's freedom of movement or conduct; stalking or repeatedly following, pursuing, or accosting a person are prohibited by in the Bill.

It also touches on harassment, dowry-related violence, all other controlling or abusive behavior towards a person, where the conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to the safety, health or wellbeing of the person in a domestic relationship.

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