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Arrest for Domestic Violence in Uganda

In April 2019, IJM Uganda supported police to arrest a man who had repeatedly abused and threatened to kill his wife, Betty*.

Betty is 30 years old, and a mother of three. She left her first marriage because her husband had strangled her.

In 2017, she met Ojok*, who had previously been convicted for attempted murder of his first wife. On multiple occasions over the course of their marriage, Ojok threatened to kill Betty. He also punched her repeatedly in the face, and broke into and robbed her friend’s home when Betty fled there for safety.

After the break-in, Betty reported Ojok* to local authorities and IJM took the case in April, 2019. Less than three weeks later, IJM supported local police to arrest Ojok and charge him with grievous harm.

Betty and her children are now safe.

“Betty is a wonderful lady, intelligent, and very brave. She never gives up,” the IJM Aftercare Specialist shared. “Betty told me she didn’t believe that [the arrest of her husband] would happen. But hearing about it made her feel so encouraged.”

Intimate partner violence is so normative and pervasive globally, and justice systems are so poorly equipped to address it, that many in the human rights and development fields have all but ruled out the idea that perpetrators might be restrained, victims protected and the crime deterred through a criminal justice response.

IJM first began to take cases of domestic violence as part of a pilot project in Gulu, Uganda in 2018. In 2018, the team accepted 10 domestic violence cases, resulting in 8 suspects charged and one convicted by the end of the year. IJM’s pilot project suggests that community leaders and law enforcement officials are willing and able to effectively respond to domestic violence as a matter of criminal justice. Already in 2019, we have secured three convictions in domestic violence cases.

*A pseudonym

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