Mozambique has taken a significant step in the fight to stop violence against women. Parliament recently passed the first reading of legislation establishing domestic violence as a crime separate from simple assault. This is the first of its kind in the country and could increase the penalties for committing violence against an intimate partner by a third.
The law will establish domestic violence as a public crime. Therefore, any witness can bring it to the attention of authorities. A victim doesn’t have to press charges in order for legal action to be taken against perpetrators of domestic violence. In addition, the law will allow the courts to issue restraining orders and suspend parental rights.
As Mozambique progresses in their fight against domestic violence so does the United States. We are fortunate to be starting from more established policies regarding issues of violence against women. Recently there has been an additional advancement with the appointment of a White House Advisor on violence against women. Former executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Lynn Rosenthal is the first to assume this new created position.
This appointment signifies that this administration takes the issue of violence against women seriously. As part of Ms. Rosenthal’s new job description, she will be coordinating global domestic violence efforts. This will be an exciting, but undoubtedly daunting task with the pervasive issues such as honor killings, martial rape, and female genital mutilation still occurring at an alarming rate.
Luckily, some countries like Mozambique seem to be open to progress and are on their way to establishing much need policies for women.