Uganda gender-based violence policy hub
This hub provides key facts about gender-based violence (GBV) in Uganda.
Gathering and updating this information will help to inform our own research in the area and, over time, influence policy to help reduce GBV. It will also help to inform the None in Three game aimed at young people in Uganda. For more information and references, download our policy briefing sheet.
The Children Act Chapter 59 – An Act to reform and consolidate the law relating to children; to provide for the care, protection and maintenance of children; to provide for local authority support for children; to establish a family and children court; to make provision for children charged with offences and for other connected purposes.
The Uganda Gender Policy (Amendment) – The policy gives a clear mandate to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and other Line Ministries to mainstream gender in all sectors. It sets priority areas of action at the National, Sectoral, District and Community levels with all levels of planning, resource allocation and implementation of development programs redressing gender imbalances and acting with a gender perspective.
Article 123 of the Penal Code Act Chapter 120 (Punishment for Rape) – The Act provides a definition of rape and states that any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl without her consent committed rape.
Domestic Violence Act– An Act to provide for the protection and relief of victims of domestic violence; to provide for the punishment of perpetrators of domestic violence; to provide for the procedure and guidelines to be followed by the court in relation to the prosecution and compensation of victims of domestic violence; to provide for the jurisdiction of court; to provide for her enforcement of orders made by the court; to empower the family and children court to handle cases of domestic violence and for related matters.
Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act – An Act to provide for the prohibition of female genital mutilation, the offences, prosecution and punishment of offenders and the protection of victims as well as girls and women under threat of female genital mutilation and to provide for other related matters.
The Children (Amendment) Act – An Act to amend the Children Act Cap. 59 to enhance the protection of children; to strengthen the provision for guardianship of children; to strengthen the conditions for inter-country adoption; to prohibit corporal punishment; to provide for the National Children Authority, repeal the National Council for Children Act, Cap. 60 and to provide for other related matters.
Located in East-Central Africa, Uganda has a population of approximately 34.9 million. Uganda is currently classed as a low income nation according to the World Bank, with an average annual growth rate of 3.03%.
- It is estimated that 51% of women in Uganda will experience violence in their lifetime, suggesting that violence against women is rampant in the country. This statistic is well above the average in Africa and worldwide, making Uganda one of the most dangerous places in the world for women.
- 56% of women in Uganda aged 15-49 reported having experienced physical violence while 22% had experienced sexual violence at least once since the age of 15 years.
Gender equality indices
Gender Inequality Index (GII) measures gender inequalities between women and men in three important areas: reproductive health, empowerment, and economic status. Values range from 0 to 1, with higher values indicating more disparities between the genders. Uganda’s current GII index is 0.523. Comparable scores are currently held by Gabon (0.534), India (0.524), Zambia (0.517), and Senegal (0.515).
Uganda’s gender inequality index 2018
Uganda’s global gender gap index (GGGI)
Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) assesses gender gaps on economic, political, education, and health criteria. Values range from 0 to 1, with lower values indicating more disparities between the genders. According to the Global Rankings Report 2018, Uganda’s GGGI is 0.724 (rank 43 out of 149 countries), which is the highest-ever score for the country. Of the four dimensions included in the GGGI, the highest rank for Uganda was recorded on health and survival (score: 0.980, rank: 1), followed by political empowerment (score: 0.305, rank: 32), and economic participation and opportunity (score: 0.700, rank: 55). Uganda’s ranked the lowest on educational attainment (score: 0.913, rank: 126). Overall, in comparison with previous year, Uganda gained several ranks due to progress in healthy life expectancy and women in senior and managerial positions.
Gender-based violence (GBV):
Uganda is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women.
- 56% of women in Uganda aged 15-49 report having experienced physical violence
- 22% had experienced sexual violence at least once since the age of 15 years
- In 2011, 65% of women suffered domestic violence
The notion of domestic violence is relatively new and largely unknown to Ugandan society, with many citizens believing the term refers to the most serious cases where severe physical injury is sustained. Other barriers to victims accessing help include stigmatisation and a lack of responsiveness of mostly male police officers (Women’s Rights in Uganda, 2012).
Anti-women cultural practices in Uganda also include female genital mutilation (FGM), forced first sexual intercourse, monitoring and control by spouses, and widow inheritance. The Uganda country assessment conducted in 2015 by UNDP found that wife battering is widely accepted, with 58% of women and 44% of men believing that it is justified for a man to beat his wife for any one of five specified reasons (OECD, 2014). Violence against women if often justified by paying a bride price; women are treated as the property of men.
Uganda has a long history of civil war and continues to face ongoing internal conflict. Military violence in Northern Uganda contributed to women experiencing rape and associated health consequences. According to the Annual Crime Report (Uganda Police Force, 2014), defilement is the third most common crime reported to the police. Moreover, the conviction rate for rape and defilement cases stands at 0.8% and 1.8% respectively.
Gender-based violence affecting children
Responding to Gender-based violence
To address the high rates of GBV, in the last few years, sector-specific legal reforms have been put in place including:
- the 2010 law on Domestic Violence and the 2011 Domestic Violence regulations
- the anti-Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2010
- the anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2009
- the Equal Opportunities Commission Act in 2007
- the National Action Plan on Women (NAPW) of 2007 – however, there was no indication as to who would finance its implementation.
Between 2007 and 2012, the annual budget of Uganda allocated $50,000 per annum (approximately 0.001% of the total budget) to address violence against women. In August 2016, the Cabinet approved the Elimination of Gender Based Violence policy for Uganda. The policy mandates that the government should allocate resources for the implementation of GBV laws, such as the Domestic Violence Act 2010. Uganda ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1985.