Physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner

Over 40% of married women in Kenya have reported being victims of either domestic violence or sexual abuse. According to the Journal for Social Science and Medicine, this gender based violence constitutes any harmful behaviors against women or girls simply because of their sex, and includes rape, assault, physical abuse, and forced prostitution.

The law defines domestic violence as violence against a person, or a threat of violence or imminent danger by someone who that person is in or has been in a domestic relationship with. Domestic relationships are marriages, relationships between divorced couples, people who live together, and people who were in marriages that have been dissolved or declared null and void. Family members and people engaged to be married are also in a domestic relationship. This relationship includes someone you have a child with and any person you have a close personal relationship with.

The other definitions of domestic violence in the act include physical abuse, child marriage, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced wife inheritance, interference from in-laws, sexual violence within marriage, virginity testing and widow cleansing.

If your partner or spouse damages your property, defiles your children and causes you emotional or psychological abuse he or she is subjecting you to domestic violence.

Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse is “a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct” towards a partner and includes repeated insults, ridicule, name-calling and threats to cause emotional pain.

Domestic violence includes:

  • Sexual violence within marriage
  • Physical abuse
  • Interference from in-laws
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Incest
  • Intimidation

Many laws have been enacted in Kenya to protect people from gender based violence.

These include:

  1. The Protection against Domestic Violence Act is meant to provide for the protection and relief of victims of domestic violence; to provide for the protection of a spouse and any children or other dependent persons.
  2. The Sexual Offences Act is the law governing sexual offences in Kenya. It lists the sexual offences recognized under Kenyan law and the sentences | 7 for those found guilty of having committed these offences.
  3. The Marriage Act governs all marriages contracted in Kenya.
  4. The Matrimonial Property Act is a law which provides for the rights and responsibilities of husbands and wives in relation to property acquired when they were lawfully married.

This consolidated popular version of the Protection against Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act, The Marriage Act, and the Matrimonial Property Act presents them in a simplified form that can be easily understood by both policy makers and community members. It is intended to be an aid to be used in teaching members of the public, both adults and children, about these four laws and the protection they provide against gender based violence.  (

Stay safe! Call 1190/21094 to report Gender Based Violence cases