Cameroon

Population Size:

25,876,380.[1]

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

45% of the women interviewed reported having experienced physical violence, 20% sexual violence and 42% emotional violence from their husband or partner.[2]

In the 12 months prior to the survey, 68% of the women interviewed reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence from their husband or partner; 42% responded that the frequency with which they experienced such was "sometimes”, while for 26% it was “often”.[3]

In the 12 months prior to the survey, 20% of the women interviewed reported having been forced to have sex with their partner, 29% had experienced physical violence and 33% were victims of emotional violence from their partner.[4]

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:

At present there is no legislation against domestic violence in Cameroon and due to the absence of legal instruments and avenues by which to access justice and of legal protections for victims, domestic violence is pervasive. In addition, the criminal law is silent on the issue of domestic violence and victims are left to rely on the general law of assault. The Cameroonian government has claimed that despite the absence of specific provisions, domestic violence, as well as marital rape, may be sanctioned by certain provisions of the Penal Code. The government has made no commitments on working to either criminalise or end domestic violence or marital within Cameroon as it feels that the general provisions that exist under the Penal Code are sufficient.

Actions carried out thus far in fight against sexual and domestic violence have focused on building the capacities of stakeholders, establishing national and regional and legal instruments and producing and disseminating educational materials. A specific law on preventing and combatting violence against women has not been adopted, despite the inclusion of some aspects in the new Penal Code. The absence of the offences of domestic violence and marital rape from the Penal Cade serve to highlight the significant gaps that remain in said Code and this was highlighted by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. To date, however, the government has taken no steps to remedy this.

In March 2019, President Biya, pledged to institutionalise gender parity and improve the level of participation of women in various sectors of the country. However, his message was met with criticism from activists who describe it as hypocritical given that women and girls are dying in the North West and South West regions of the country as a result of clashes between separatist fighters and soldiers in the army.[5]


Frontline Services:

 

Sources


[1] The World Bank, (1).

[2] Refworld, “Cameroon: Domestic Violence, Including Legislation; Protection Provided by the State and Support Services Available to Victims (2014-2016)”, (refworld.org, 21 April 2016).

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] Journal du Cameroun, “Paul Biya’s Message to Cameroonian Women”, (journalducameroun.com, 8 March 2019).


Further Reading


[1] OECD, “Cameroon”, (2019), Social Institutions and Gender Index.

[2] Commission on the Status of Women, “Elimination and Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls”, (2013), Report of the 57th Session.

[3] Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Cameroon, “Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Cameroon”, (2019), Parallel Report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.