DOMESTIC VIOLENCE POLL

In Commemoration of International Day for The Elimination of Violence Against Women; Domestic Violence Is Highly Prevalent In Nigeria Especially amongst Women and Girls

Abuja, Nigeria. November 26th, 2019 – The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was observed on the 25th of November 2019. The aim of the Day is to raise awareness on how women worldwide are subjected to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence as well as emphasizing that the scale and true nature of the issue is often concealed. Violence against women is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. It has continued to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfilment of women’s human rights. The promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to leave no one behind – cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls. Therefore, it is an opportunity for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness of violence against women.

Against this backdrop and in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, NOIPolls conducted a public opinion poll on domestic violence in Nigeria. The poll accessed the perceptions of Nigerians regarding Domestic Violence; its prevalence, practice, reporting of incidence as well as recommendations on how it can be curbed. The poll revealed that more than 8 in 10 (82 percent) Nigerians believe that domestic violence is prevalent in Nigeria and this assertion cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-groups.

More findings from the poll show that despite prohibition by Section 34 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees the rights of Nigerians against torture and other cold-hearted or degrading treatment; majority of Nigerians (82 percent) disclosed that domestic violence of men against women is prevalent in the country. Similarly, men are also at the receiving end of domestic violence as 43 percent revealed that domestic violence of women against men is prevalent. Sadly, 70 percent stated that domestic violence against children is prevalent and the South West zone (80 percent) make up the highest percentage of Nigerians with this perception.

Furthermore, with regards to Nigerians who have either suffered or know someone who has suffered any form of domestic violence, the findings revealed that 47 percent of Nigerians have either been victims or know a victim of domestic violence. Of this proportion, 63 percent disclosed that most victims of domestic violence are women.

Violence against women is a serious concern, hence, the call for more protection of women from the menace of domestic violence in the society. Incidence of domestic violence remains largely under-reported as 55 percent of the respondents disclosed that these incidences were not reported. Finally, this International Day and the 16 Days of Activism are a timely opportunity to raise awareness for the health and social consequences of violence against women and strengthen commitment to collective action in Nigeria. These are some of the key findings from the Domestic Violence Poll conducted in the week commencing 18th November 2019.

Background

The international day for the elimination of violence against women is an annual campaign that seeks to sensitize the world regarding the dangers associated with violence against women. The campaign also seeks to draw the attention of various governments and stakeholders to expedite actions in eradicating violence against women. Generally, domestic violence poses great dangers such as physical, adverse psychological, sexual and emotional harm against women, hence the need for its eradication. This issue has continued to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as the fulfilment of women and girl’s human rights.

Furthermore, violence against women manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms which include but not limited to intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking and in some extreme cases death. Others include human trafficking, female genital mutilation and child marriage. Additionally, Statistics have shown that 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime mostly by an intimate partner or a close relative. Also, 750 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday, while 200 million women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).[1]

The theme for the 2019 day is Orange the world: generation equality stands against rape; this seeksto attract the attention of the world regarding rape as a specific form of harm committed against women in times of peace or war.  To further buttress the essence and importance of the day, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated thus: “Sexual violence against women is rooted in centuries of male domination. Let us not forget that the gender inequalities that fuel rape culture are essentially a question of power imbalance[2].

In a bid to end the menace of domestic violence, the Nigerian National Assembly passed a bill against domestic violence which is awaiting senate approval before it becomes law. The bill stipulates stricter punishments for sexual violence and to also provide support and measures to eliminate this menace[3]. In view of this, NOIPolls conducted a public opinion poll on Domestic Violence to access the perception of Nigerians on its prevalence, practice, reporting of incidence as well as recommendations on how it can be curbed.

Survey Findings

The first question accessed the opinion of Nigerians on the prevalence of domestic violence in the country and the poll findings revealed that a vast majority (82 percent) of respondents believe that domestic violence is prevalent in Nigeria and this assertion cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-groups.

Similarly, men are also at the receiving end of domestic violence in the country as 43 percent revealed that domestic violence of women against men is prevalent. Sadly, 70 percent stated that domestic violence against children is prevalent and the South West zone (80 percent) make up the highest percentage of Nigerians with this perception.

Subsequently, the poll also sought to measure the proportion of Nigerians who have either suffered or know someone who has suffered any form of domestic violence and the findings revealed that 47 percent of Nigerians have either been victims or know a victim of domestic violence. This finding substantiates the fact that domestic violence is prevalent in Nigeria.

Trend analysis shows a 7 percent decline in the number of Nigerians who have either been victims or know a victim of domestic violence when current findings are compared with the results obtained in 2016.

To gain further insights on the victims of domestic violence, of the proportion in the above findings, 63 percent disclosed that most victims of domestic violence are women and as expected, there are more female (80 percent) than male (50 percent) respondents who have this perception.

Interestingly, trend analysis indicates a 12 percent decline in the proportion of Nigerians who mentioned that most victims of domestic violence are women when current findings were compared with the results obtained in 2016.

The chart below indicates that more cases of domestic violence were not reported as revealed by 55 percent of Nigerians interviewed and the South West zone (78 percent) make up the highest number of respondents with this view.

Of the proportion who reported the incidence, when further probed, a greater proportion (45 percent disclosed that the incidence was reported to friends & family while 33 percent said that they reported to the police. Other segments of the respondents reported to human right activists (15 percent), community leaders (9 percent), religious leaders (8 percent) and NGOs (5 percent)

With regards to cause of domestic violence, most Nigerians believe that misunderstanding is the main cause of domestic violence in many Nigerian homes. This is followed by 25 percent who blamed the incidence on poverty amongst other reasons.

The top three effects of domestic violence as stated by Nigerians interviewed are that it can lead to divorce (40 percent), negatively affect the upbringing of the children, and that it can lead to death.

When asked about how to help victims of domestic violence, the results showed that while 29 percent suggested that they should be offered proper counselling, 27 percent recommended that they should be empowered. This is closely followed by 26 percent who mentioned that they should go through medical treatment.

Opinion on the punishment for perpetrators revealed that 33 percent of the respondents advocated that the perpetrators should undergo a community service.  While 18 percent want the government to enact a law against domestic violence, 15 percent believe that they should be flogged in public. 

The poll sought to obtain suggestions from Nigerians on how domestic violence can be curbed in Nigeria and findings revealed that 17 percent of respondents advocated proper counselling on marital relationships. This infers that spouse/partners should be guided on how to develop mutual understanding on all issues and challenges that presents itself in their daily lives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the poll results have clearly revealed that domestic violence is prevalent in Nigeria especially domestic violence of men against women. This is worrisome given that women play a great role in the nurturing of children and their psychological well-being is very important because it often determines the quality of upbringing given to their children and the society at large. Hence, this calls for more protection of women from the menace of domestic violence in the society. Incidence of domestic violence remains largely under-reported as a significant proportion of incidences have not been reported. There is need to create more awareness regarding reporting cases of domestic violence in Nigeria.

Finally, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women and girls to escalate to wide proportions. Hence, it is imperative for the government, religious institutions, communities and relevant stakeholders to provide support and effective channels of support to victims of domestic violence, which are mostly women and children, while propagating an anti-domestic violence campaign.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing November 18th, 2019. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s tele-density put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women

[2] https://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence_in_Nigeria