When criminal law is not enoughToward a holistic approach to gender-based violence prevention and response in Zambia and beyond

Authored by: Elizabeth Brundige , Tinenenji Banda

The Routledge Handbook of African Law

Print publication date:  November  2021
Online publication date:  November  2021

Print ISBN: 9780815350682
eBook ISBN: 9781351142366
Adobe ISBN:


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Zambia adopted a new Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act in 2011. The Act was heralded as one of the most comprehensive laws on gender-based violence in the southern African region. Seven years later, the Act continues to provide a valuable framework for addressing gender-based violence, though it has yet to fully realize its original promise. While historically looking at Zambia’s efforts to combat gender-based violence, this chapter describes the key features of the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act. It identifies and evaluates some of the challenges that have hindered effective implementation. Despite these challenges, the authors argue that these implementation challenges are not unique to Zambia. They describe other jurisdictions grappling with the implementation of effective prevention and response regimes. Thus, the approach to gender-based violence reflected in the Act, including its focus on prevention and community engagement, can usefully inform efforts to address gender-based violence in other jurisdictions. Overall, the chapter surmises that Zambia’s efforts to respond to gender-based violence through this Act is an important step toward realizing its international and regional human rights commitments. It is an opportunity for Zambia to move toward effective implementation and thus offer a model for the development of human rights norms on gender-based violence.

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