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Please be advised that the Embassy of Ireland, Sierra Leone website has moved and this page is no longer being updated. The Embassy website is now available at Ireland.ie/freetown.

Impact Assessment of Sierra Leone Gender Laws is published

Irish Working Group on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Sierra Leone publishes impact assessment of country's Gender Laws

Globally women and children in countries with domestic violence laws have a lower chance of experiencing violence than those in countries without such laws. As a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 1988, and numerous other international conventions that protect the rights of women and children, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has taken a number of steps to domesticate the provisions of CEDAW through the passage of a range of laws protecting women and children in Sierra Leone. One of the main achievements among these has been the passage of the three "Gender Acts" (Laws) in 2007-09, and the Sexual Offences Act in 2012.

The three Gender Laws collectively are:

  • Domestic Violence Act: addresses all types of violence in a domestic setting
  • Devolution of Estates Act [also known as the 'Intestate Succession Act']: provides protection for women in terms of land and estate inheritance in the event that her spouse dies intestate (without a will).
  • Registration of Customary Marriages and Divorces Act: Outlines a framework for registering customary marriages and divorces, which provides further economic and legal protection for women.

In addition to the 2007-08 Gender Laws, the Sexual Offences Act was also passed in 2012, which provides a clear framework for addressing sexual violence crimes.

In 2017, members of the Irish Working Group on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Sierra Leone jointly commissioned a qualitative research study to learn more about how the three 'Gender Laws' of Sierra Leone have been implemented, applied, and disseminated, ten years after their passage into law in 2007. The Gender Laws collectively aimed to improve the legislative framework for empowering women and girls socially and economically, and for reducing violence against women and girls in the home and community.

The overall objective of the Gender Laws research was: To undertake and deliver a national study examining the extent to which the three "Gender Acts" (GA) have contributed to improving the protection of women and girls' in Sierra Leone ten years on.

The research consisted of a series of consultations with 350 stakeholders across the Western Northern, Southern, and Eastern Regions of Sierra Leone, using 'Roundtable' and 'Community Conversation' approach, as well as individual and small group key informant interviews. Consultations were held with government agencies, traditional leaders, civil society and humanitarian organizations, families, and GBV survivors. This brief presents a summary of the key findings and recommendations of the research.

You can access the research, which was launched in December 2018, Impact Assessment The Three Gender Acts in Sierra Leone.

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