Burkina Faso

Population Size:

20,994,544.[1]

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

Violence in the home is very common.[2]

12% of women reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime,[3] while 9% reported having experienced such in the last 12 months.[4]

2004: 56% of interviewees had been victims of sexual harassment.[5]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of Domestic Abuse to the Economy Each Year:

No research.

Estimated % Change due to COVID-19:

No research.


Current Law and Policy:

In 2017, Burkina Faso suggested that certain legislative provisions relating to domestic violence were under review. However, there is no evidence of any planned amendments and the issue has not been mentioned since.

Due to patriarchal attitudes and harmful stereotypes, domestic violence is widely accepted in Burkina Faso. However, a range of measures have been adopted to address the problem. The government has: implemented a national strategy for the promotion and protection of girls (2017 - 2026), run training activities and awareness raising campaigns, launched a joint programme with UN agencies to combat violence against women and girls, established a centre for victims of gender-based violence where victims can receive counselling and support and established legal aid funds to assist female victims of violence who meet certain conditions, such as being widowed, in a position of financial instability, etc..

Legislation has also been used tackle domestic violence. In 2015, the Law on the Prevention and Repression of Violence Against Women and Girls and Support for Victims was passed. However, the Law is let down by both its a restrictive definition of ‘marital rape’ and its sporadic implementation. The legal framework dealing with gender-based violence as a whole in Burkina Faso is also very disjointed. Different forms of violence are addressed by different pieces of legislation, without an obvious link between the various laws. For instance, female genital mutilation and rape are dealt with by the Criminal Code, but marital rape by the 2015 Law.


At a 2017 meeting, CEDAW expressed its eagerness to see steps being taken to harmonise and coordinate this legislation.[6] Burkina Faso confirmed that this process was underway. Burkina Faso stated that the Criminal Code was said to be under review with the aim of including, through ratification, a number of international conventions and harmonising the legal framework. However, very little information about whether this review is still ongoing can be found. Also, at the 2017 meeting, Burkina Faso admitted that its legislation relating to marital rape was too restrictive and warranted review, but no evidence of any planned amendments can be found. 

It is difficult to tell how effective Burkina Faso’s approach to tackling domestic violence has been as there is a serious lack of statistical information. Of the few cases concerning gender-based violence that have gone to court, the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Civil Promotion has been unable to provide any statistics on the number of prosecutions, convictions and/or sentences. At the 2017 meeting, CEDAW raised this lack of reporting and record-keeping as an area of major concern. However, there has been very little discussion of the issue of domestic violence in Burkina Faso since 2017. 


Frontline Services:

 

Sources


[1] Worldometer, “Burkina Faso Population (Live)”, (worldometers.info).

[2] Refworld, “Burkina Faso: Domestic Violence, Including Possible Remedies, the Protection Offered by the State, and Refuge/Shelter for Victims; Whether an Educated Woman Can Live Alone in the City and Work”, (refworld.org, 7 April 2004).

[3] National Institute of Statistics and Demographics and ICF International, “Multiple Health and Demographic Indicators in Burkina Faso”, (2012), Study.

[4] ibid.

[5] The Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality Task Force on Violence Against Women, “Background Study of the Inter-Agency Joint Programme on Violence Against Women”, (2008), Study, 20.

[6] UN OHCHR, “CEDAW Discusses Situation of Women in Burkina Faso … With Civil Society Representatives”, (ohchr.org, 23 October 2017).


Further Reading


[1] UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, “Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: Concluding Observations – Burkina Faso”, (2010), Report CEDAW/C/BFA/CO/6.