Central African Republic

Population Size:

4,745,185.[1]

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

2019: 11,777 cases of domestic violence were reported, which represents a 174% increase in numbers from 2014.

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:

Since April, gender-based violence has increased by an estimated 10%, while reported injuries to women and children have increased by 69%, rape by 27% and other assaults by 45%.[2] Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the Central African Republic, 97% of the victims of gender-based violence have been female and 76% underage.[3]

The UNDP reports that there has been a 69% increase in violence.[4]


Current Law and Policy:

Domestic violence is prevalent in the Central African Republic and the government has failed to respond to such despite domestic violence being a criminal offence under Article 27 of the Law on the Protection of Women against Violence. The legal system in the Central African Republic also penalises domestic violence, sexual harassment and marital rape, but around 80% of women still justify spousal abuse in any of the 5 circumstances listed.

While recent laws to address gender-based violence signal progress over the past couple of years, social norms against wider gender equality limit the potential for change.

In 2014, the CEDAW Committee noted the lack of appropriate services available to women trying to escape domestic violence, such as shelters, counselling and rehabilitation services. The Law on the Protection of Women against Violence does not include specific provisions for the prevention of domestic violence or integrated services for women and girls who have survived domestic violence, including emergency shelters or free of charge hotlines.

Although a national strategy aims to reduce gender-based violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation, statistics even before the pandemic began were grim with 11,777 cases identified in 2019. Landlocked and impoverished, in 2019, the Central African Republic also ranked second highest in gender inequality globally.[5]


2015: Although the Law on the Protection of Women against Violence does not specifically mention spousal abuse, it prohibits violence against any person and provides for penalties of up to 10 years in prison. Domestic violence against women is common. A legal aid centre in Bimbo for sexual and gender-based crimes reported receiving approximately 10 cases a week. The Law on the Protection of Women against Violence considers spousal abuse to be a civil matter unless the injury is severe. According to the AFJC, victims of domestic abuse seldom report incidents to authorities.

The government in the Central African Republic is not known to have taken any action to punish perpetrators or otherwise combat rape and domestic violence.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (‘FGM/C’): The law prohibits the FGM/C of women and girls, which is punishable by 2-5 years' imprisonment and a fine of between 100,000-1,000,000 CFA francs (USD $170 to $1,700), depending on the severity of the case. Approximately 24% of girls and women between the ages of 15-49 had been cut, according to multiple indicator cluster surveys reported by UNICEF in 2010, and of that number, 52% had undergone the procedure between the ages of 10-14.[6] The government has started to broadcast public awareness announcements concerning FGM/C on public radios.


Frontline Services:

 

Sources


[1] The World Bank, (1).

[2] UNDP, “In CAR, Violence Against Women is Surging Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Study Finds”, (undp.org, 14 July 2020).

[3] ibid.

[4] UNDP, “COVID-19: Socio-Economic Impact”, (undp.org).

[5] UNDP, (243).

[6] Refworld, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Central African Republic”, (refworld.org, 3 March 2017).


Further Reading


[1] The World Bank, “Gender Equality”, (datatopics.worldbank.org, 2017).

[2] OECD, “Central African Republic”, (2019), Social Institutions and Gender Index.