ECWR Calls for a Rapid Enactment of VAW Law

(Cairo March 30, 2017) Recently VAW crimes, especially domestic violence, have increased rapidly and in an alarming way. The results of the study of the economic cost of gender based violence in Egypt, conducted by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, revealed that the percentage of marital violence is not negligible as around 46% of the previously married women between the age of 18 and 64 years in Egypt were subject to one of form of violence perpetrated by the husband, whether psychological, physical or sexual violence. The study has also revealed that 43%of women suffered from injuries as a result of martial violence annually.

A few days ago, the media has reported that a husband assaulted his wife and beat her for a whole day using a wooden stick after her tied her with a belt preventing her from moving. This assault has resulted in several injuries in different parts of the wife’s body as was started in the medical report. This crime will most likely be classified as a simple beating crime whose penalty does not exceed two years of imprisonment, according to the Article 242 of Egyptian Penal Code stating that ” If the beating or the wound does not reach the degree of gravity prescribed in the two previous Articles, the perpetrator shall be punished with detention for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not less than ten pound and not exceeding two hundred Egyptian pounds.”

This results in a strong need to reconsider the description of these crimes. As such crimes go beyond being simple beating whose perpetrators are penalized by a fine. The above-mentioned crime is not only one crime; however, it includes the following other crimes:

  • Initiating murdering the wife with premeditation, as the husband assaulted the wife by beating her for a whole day using a wooden stick after restricting her with a belt preventing her from movement and she needs a medical treatment that would last not less than 21 days. (life imprisonment, which is known in Egypt to be twenty-five years of imprisonment)
  • Unlawful detention of the wife and torturing her physically. (the punishment is imprisonment between three and fifteen years)

In this case, The court applies the more severe penalty which is in this case the life imprisonment because one act led to these two crimes as stipulated in the Article No 32 of The Egyptian Penal Code ” If the same deed forms multiple crimes, the crime with a stricter penalty and the judgment inflicting that penalty shall alone be considered”

Because the absence of a law for violence against women; this form of crimes exists and has been increasing. For this reason, a law should be enacted to impose clear penalties on perpetrators of such crimes.

It is worth mentioning that the National Council for Women cooperated with the Ministry of Justice and consulted Human rights NGOs in order to develop a draft law on violence against women. This law includes all forms of violence against women.

Therefore, ECWR demands:

  • Quick issuance of the draft law submitted by the National Council for Women
  • Rapid enforcement the decision of The Ministry of Justice to form special courts for violence against women
  • Provision of all the forms of support to the violence against women units that exist in the police departments
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