Assessment of the factors that influence domestic violence in Northern Uganda
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Domestic violence which may also be referred to as domestic abuse or family violence is a very disastrous habit in families and it’s a global public health issue. It is embedded in society and pervades all socioeconomic, gender and cultural groups, having a devastating impact on the lives of survivors. Evidence shows that the leading causes of DV are poverty, alcoholism for both women and men, cultural practices like early marriages, bride price, limited counselling, peer pressure, drug abuse, among others (UNDP, 2015; OXFAM, 2018). In addition, the type of dwellings does matter in early exposure to sex for young adults and children. For instance, in homes that have only one room, sexual engagements by parents are exposed to their children early even without intending to. More so poverty has been found to be the most prominent cause for physical and sexual DV especially in the Acholi and Lango districts. Income poverty in Acholi was at 34.7 percent and 20 percent in Lango (UBOS, 2017). Simply put, three out of ten persons living in Acholi sub region are poor (living below the poverty line). In Karamoja, poverty was at 60 percent (6 out of 10 persons in Karamoja were living below a dollar per day). In such regions, the psycho-social and economic effects of the 20-year conflict fueled physical and sexual DV (UNDP, 2015). Women’s changing roles and responsibilities, including their increasing economic independence from their husbands, is often seen to have resulted in growing tension at the household level making DV chronic (MoGLSD, 2019). This study aimed at assessing the factors that influence domestic violence in Northern Uganda. A total of 4368 women from Northern Uganda were included in this study. The data was analyzed at univariate, Bivariate and multivariate levels of analysis. The study findings showed that women’s age, parity, wealth status, women occupation, duration of marriage and husband’s alcohol consumption were strongly associated with domestic violence in Northern Uganda. However, place of residence, women’s education and number of co-wives were not significantly associated with domestic violence. It is therefore recommended that Law reform is a necessary first step in ending violence: There must be an existing legal framework for victims to seek legal redress. There is a need for the government of Uganda to comply with its international obligation to protect women against all forms of violence, whether occurring in the private or public sphere and to strengthen the institutional and technical capacity of government agencies to address domestic violence, and to develop a model for intervention on a nationwide scale. There is need for the women activists to continue lobbying and advocating for the enactment of legislation on domestic violence that is in accordance with international legal obligations. Furthermore, Laws to protect women and children are essential. Victims should have the right to stay in the home in cases of domestic violence; it is the perpetrator who should be removed from the residence in such cases. Home should be a place of safety. Therefore, the fact that a crime is committed in the home should be regarded as an aggravating factor. Domestic violence is a criminal offence and the appropriate laws should be used. Perpetrators’ programs should not replace effective action against perpetrators under criminal law, and must not be used as a substitute for justified penal sanction. Finally, there is a need to continue empowering women economically in order to reduce their over dependency on their husbands, which is one of the main causes of domestic violence.