Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Tanzania: Situation of female victims of domestic violence, including legislation and availability of state protection and support services (2012- July 2015)

PublisherCanada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date26 August 2015
Citation / Document SymbolTZA105300.E
Related DocumentTanzanie : information sur la situation des femmes victimes de violence conjugale, y compris les lois, la protection offerte par l'√Čtat et les services de soutien (2012-juillet 2015)
Cite asCanada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Tanzania: Situation of female victims of domestic violence, including legislation and availability of state protection and support services (2012- July 2015), 26 August 2015, TZA105300.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/55ffaa004.html [accessed 1 March 2016]
CommentsThis Response replaces TZA105235.E of 4 August 2015.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
1. Overview
Sources indicate that domestic violence in Tanzania is "widespread" (US 25 June 2015, 21; LHRC and ZLSC Mar. 2014, 166; AI 25 Feb. 2015). According to Freedom House, domestic violence and rape are "reportedly common" (Freedom House 2015). According to Amnesty International (AI), 26 women in the town of Mbeya and 27 in Geita were killed as a result of domestic violence during the first half of 2014 (AI 25 Feb. 2015). The Citizen, a Tanzanian newspaper owned by the East African media company, Nation Media Group (Nation Media Group n.d.), reports that "[d]omestic violence [is] the most common and widespread form of violence in Tanzania" and notes that "at least" 6 out of 10 women in Tanzania have experienced domestic violence either within marriage or "in the domestic environs" (The Citizen 25 June 2015). Similarly, the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 quotes the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) as stating that the two most prevalent forms of gender-based violence (GBV) in Tanzania are wife battering (30 percent of all cases of GBV) and marital rape (12 percent of all cases of GBV) (US 25 June 2015, 21). According to an entry in We Write for Rights, a human rights blog administered by students of journalism at St. Augustine University of Tanzania [1], "one in every four women" in Tanzania experience domestic violence (We Write for Rights 11 Aug. 2013). According to a joint human rights report by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) of Tanzania and the Zanzibar Legal Services Centre (ZLSC) [2], Tanzanian police statistics indicate that 964 cases of domestic violence were reported to authorities in 2013 (LHRC and ZLSC Mar. 2014, 167). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
Sources state that women in Tanzania are taught to tolerate and accept acts of domestic violence perpetrated against them (McCleary-Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 19; Reuters 25 July 2013). An article published by the Tanzania Daily News, a newspaper owned by the government of Tanzania media corporation, Tanzania Standard Newspapers Ltd. (Tanzania Standard Newspapers Ltd. n.d.), indicates that "[p]revailing gender norms show that sexual violence such as rape in intimate relationships are still considered culturally acceptable" (The Tanzania Daily News 8 July 2010). The report written by the LHRC and ZLSC similarly notes that many Tanzanians "believe that beating women is an acceptable practice" and that "women believe that they are supposed to be submissive to their husbands" (LHRC and ZLSC Mar. 2014, 167). According to a report on GBV in Tanzania written by the International Center for Research on Women [3], which collected data through interviews with male and female participants in the Dar es Salaam, Iringa, and Mbeya regions of Tanzania, "[p]hysical violence is largely viewed as part of marriage. Women explained that they come to expect and even accept this violence because of prevailing community norms" (McCleary-Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 19). The same study indicates that the majority of participants claim that "being beaten by a partner," "depriving a wife of basic needs, including clothing and food," and "name calling, yelling and threats" towards a partner in the home, are all "acceptable" behaviours within domestic spaces (ibid. 18, 20, 21).
According to sources, female victims of domestic violence rarely report incidents to the authorities due to cultural, social, and family pressures (US 25 June 2015, 21; LHRC and ZLSC Mar. 2014, 167). The ICRW report states that typically, married women are expected to consult with their husband's relatives before reporting domestic violence to the police and that "[o]nly when a problem cannot be solved within the family or immediate social network is it socially acceptable to approach external sources of support" (McCleary-Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 25). Other sources list the following reasons for which women do not report incidents of domestic violence: the fear of retaliation from their husbands (LHRC and ZLSC Mar. 2014, 167; US 25 June 2015, 22); the fear of losing economic support (ibid.; HDT June 2011, 6); and the desire to protect their children (ibid.; LHRC and ZLSC Mar. 2014, 167).
2. Legislation
Sources indicate that Tanzania does not have a law that specifically addresses domestic violence (The Citizen 25 June 2015; We Write for Rights 25 Aug. 2013). According to sources, violence against married women is addressed in the Law of Marriage Act (2002) (HDT 2011, 6; McCleary Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 12). Article 66 states that, "[f]or the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that, notwithstanding any custom to the contrary, no person has any right to inflict corporal punishment on his or her spouse" (Tanzania 1971). According to the ICRW report, a definition of "'corporal punishment'" is not provided in the Law of Marriage Act, and so it is "open to interpretation and excludes non-physical forms of violence" (McCleary Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 12). The same source states that the law is "not specific on the penalty for non-compliance," it does not recognize marital rape or provide legal protection for unmarried women against violence, and completely excludes some forms of economic violence (ibid.).
According to the ICRW report, the Sexual Offenses Special Provisions Act (1998) "criminalizes various forms of GBV, including rape, sexual assault and harassment, female genital cutting (for girls ages 18 years and younger) and sex trafficking" (McCleary Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 12). A 2011 report published by Human Development Trust (HDT), a Tanzanian NGO that focuses on health improvements especially in Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, and Kagera (HDT. n.d.), also states that the Act contains a provision for rape which applies to "'non-consensual sexual intercourse between a man and a girl or woman, where the girl or woman is not the man's spouse or the man is a separated spouse'" (ibid. 2011, 14). However, sources indicate that marital rape is not covered in the Act (ibid.; McCleary Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 12) and thus "is not recognized as an illegal act" (ibid.).
HDT notes that both the Law of Marriage Act and the Sexual Offenses Special Provisions Act have "little impact" because they do not protect unmarried women from domestic violence, they do not define corporal punishment, and they exclude non-physical forms of domestic violence, such as "economic deprivation" (HDT 2011, 6).
3. State Protection
3.1 Police
Sources state that the Tanzanian police operate gender and children's desks where women can report instances of domestic violence (US 25 June 2015, 22; UN 26 Nov. 2013; JHR 14 Jan. 2014). According to Deutsche Welle (DW), a German international news provider (DW n.d.), gender desks "are dedicated units in each police station consisting of reception area, interview and counseling room, resting area and an office. They are manned by women police officers" (ibid. 3 Dec. 2013). The UNICEF similarly reports that gender and children's desks are specialist units in each police station staffed by specially trained officers that offer "safe spaces" for domestic violence victims to report incidents (UN 26 Nov. 2013). According to the 2011 HDT report, gender desks allow GBV reports to be filed in "separate rooms instead of … the police station's lobby" and victims are able to interact with female officers exclusively (HDT June 2011, 9). An article published in January 2014 by Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), a Canadian media development organization that empowers journalists to cover human rights stories objectively and effectively (JHR n.d.), indicated that there were more than 400 desks within Tanzanian police stations that were specially trained to handle GBV cases at that time (ibid. 14 Jan. 2014).
According to an informational guidance note released by the Tanzania Police Force and the UN, all GBV matters are first reported at the nearest Gender and Children's Desk, found within every police station (Tanzania Police and UN Tanzania n.d.). The same source reports that the police will file a case and the victim will sign a statement on the "Police Form 2A" (ibid.). Sources report that a police officer will then give the victim a "Police Form 3 (PF3)" (ibid.; McCleary-Sills et al. 2003, 28), which is required if a victim wishes to take legal action against a perpetrator and is "used as the basis of her case" (ibid.). According to the note produced by the Tanzanian Police and the UN, the PF3 form is then taken to the hospital where a doctor will record any evidence of physical trauma on the victim to be used in both the investigation and court proceedings (Tanzania Police and UN Tanzania n.d.). After the case has been reported, desk officers are supposed to put the victim in touch with support services (ibid.). Sources report that these same officers are also supposed to help victims find temporary shelter, if needed (ibid.; McCleary-Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 29).
Sources indicate that corruption within the Tanzanian police forces stands as a barrier for women to report instances of domestic violence (DW 3 Dec. 2013; McCleary-Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 51). According to the ICRW report, police officers have been known to refuse to open case files on behalf of victims, even after receiving a bribe (ibid.). Transparency International's (TI) East African Bribery Index 2014 reports that the Tanzania Police Force is the most corrupt agency within the country (TI 2014, 38). The same source states that there was a 23 percent chance of an individual being asked to pay a bribe by the police to access services and a 42.9 percent chance of the individual paying this bribe (ibid., 39).
3.2 Judiciary
According to the ICRW report, Tanzania has no separate court system for family matters and thus GBV cases are tried in general courtrooms where criminal cases are held (McCleary-Sills et al. Mar. 2013, 28). A 2013 article published by the Tanzania Daily News indicates that the judiciary system is under-resourced and "struggling to deal with … the magnitude of cases" (The Tanzania Daily News 16 Oct. 2013). The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) similarly reports that the problem of "pending GBV cases is not uncommon in Zanzibar" (UN 16 May 2014). The same source quotes the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) as stating that "among 30 cases reported in Mwera and Mfenesini district courts in the period of one year (2013), only one third of the cases have reached a justice stage"; seven offenders were convicted, three were released, and 20 cases remain pending (ibid.). According to sources, domestic violence cases are "rarely prosecuted" by the authorities (US 25 June 2015, 21; Freedom House 2015). According to Country Reports 2014, many individuals who faced GBV charges in court in 2014 "were set free" due to corruption, a "lack of evidence, poor investigations, and poor evidentiary preservation" (US 25 June 2015, 22).
Freedom House reports that Tanzania's judiciary "suffers from underfunding and corruption," and that the "[r]ule of law does not always prevail in civil and criminal matters" (Freedom House 2015). TI's 2014 East African Bribery Index further states that the judiciary stands as the second most corrupt institution in Tanzania, second only to the police (TI 2014, 38).
4. Support Services
4.1 Shelters and One-Stop Centres
Sources report that there are "one-stop centres" in Tanzania that provide resources to GBV victims (The Tanzania Daily News 16 Oct. 2013; US 25 June 2015, 22; JHR 14 Jan. 2014). According to JHR, Dar es Salaam opened its first one-stop centre in 2014, which offers "an umbrella of essential services to victims of GBV such as counseling, legal aid, and healthcare" (ibid.). Country Reports 2014 notes that Zanzibar has one-stop centres in Unguja and Pemba where "victims could receive health services, counseling, legal assistance, and a referral to police at the same location" (US 25 June 2015, 22). The Tanzania Daily News similarly indicates that Zanzibar has five one-stop centres where GBV victims can "denounce the crime, receive medical support and legal advice in the same place, at the same time ensuring the evidence for the crime will be preserved" (The Tanzania Daily News 16 Oct. 2013). Information on one-stop centres located outside of Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam could not be found by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
According to sources, Tanzania has shelter services available for female victims of violence in Dar es Salaam (ibid. 8 July 2010), Zanzibar (ibid. 16 Oct. 2013), and Moshi (CACHA n.d.b). A 2010 article published by the Tanzania Daily News states that the House of Peace, established in 2002, is the only crisis centre in Dar es Salaam that provides "temporary shelter for women and children who are victims of gender based violence" (The Tanzania Daily News 8 July 2010). The same article states that the House of Peace "provides shelter, legal and health care, food and clothing to women and children survivors of gender-based violence" and that, at the time or reporting, it was accommodating 33 women and 17 children (ibid.). A subsequent article published by the Tanzania Daily News notes that Zanzibar established two "'safe homes'" in 2013, one in Pemba and the other in Unguja (ibid. 16 Oct. 2013). The government of Zanzibar reportedly dedicated 10 million dollars to support the project and each safe house has a social worker on site (ibid.). The Canada Africa Community Health Alliance (CACHA), a Canadian NGO dedicated to facilitating public health developments in Africa (CACHA n.d.a), also notes that it operates a shelter in Moshi, Tanzania which provides temporary respite for up to six women and their children (ibid. n.d.b). The same source states that women at the shelter are provided with meals, clothing, medical care, and counseling services (ibid.). The CACHA staff also helps temporary shelter residents explore long-term solutions, "such as reconciliation with family members, permanent lodging, vocational training, business education, and micro-loans" (ibid.).
Information on the availability of shelter services outside of Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, or Moshi could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.
4.2 Legal Aid Services and Hotlines
Sources indicate that GBV victims in Tanzania who are unable to afford legal representation are able to access legal aid through the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) and the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) (TAWLA n.d.a; LHRC n.d.). According to the website of TAWLA, a Dar es Salaam NGO (TAWLA n.d.a), its first priority is "providing legal aid services to vulnerable women and children" (ibid. n.d.b).
The Women's Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) also provides legal aid to women and children in need (WLAC n.d.b). The website of the WLAC states that it provides "reconciliation, client coaching, case follow-up, in-court representation, document drafting services, and legal and human rights education" (WLAC n.d.a). According to their website, the centre also provides mobile legal aid clinics administered out of a converted vehicle, to offer services to women in "remote communities" (ibid.). The centre also operates a toll-free hotline, which provides legal information to female victims of violence anywhere in Tanzania (ibid.). According to the centre's website, the hotline can be accessed through three telephone numbers: via Vodacom: 0757-726660, via Tigo: 0658-999555, and via Airtel: 0785-066555 (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
[1] The initiative of We Write for Rights was "developed through a mentorship program with Canada's leading media development organization, Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)" (We Write for Rights n.d.).
[2] The Legal and Human Rights Centre of Tanzania (LHRC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization based in Tanzania that "create[s] legal and human rights awareness among the public" while also offering legal aid services to the underprivileged (LHRC n.d.). The Zanzibar Legal Services Centre (ZLSC) is a Tanzanian NGO which provides legal aid services to women, children, the poor, and disadvantaged citizens of Zanzibar (SALAN n.d.).
[3] The ICRW works with partners to "conduct empirical research, build capacity and advocate for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs" to advance gender equality in the developing world (ICRW n.d.).