Poll: Domestic Violence Heightened by Economic Hardship in Nigeria

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Abimbola Akosile

A recent public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls Limited in partnership with Project Alert on domestic violence has revealed an increasing prevalence of domestic violence across Nigeria in recent times as reported by about 8 in 10 (78 per cent) respondents.

NOIPolls Limited is the number one for country specific polling services in West Africa. It conducts periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria.

This prevalence, according to the poll released in Abuja on Tuesday, is highest in the South-west geo-political zone (86 per cent) and lowest in the South-south zone (70 per cent). More findings revealed that 54 per cent of Nigerians have suffered a form of domestic violence or know someone that has experienced domestic violence in their homes with majority of the victims being women as stated by 75 per cent of respondents; although ‘men’ (16 per cent) and ‘children’ (9 per cent) are also known to be victims of domestic violence.

Moreover findings from a similar poll conducted by NOIPolls in 2012 which revealed that 4 per cent of the respondents were victims and 29 per cent indicated they know victims of domestic violence, portrays an increase in the occurrence of domestic violence in Nigeria when these figures are compared to recent figures.

An evaluation of the causes of domestic violence in Nigeria revealed that Nigerians perceive ‘economic hardship’ (42 per cent), ‘misunderstanding between couples’ (21 per cent) and ‘impatience’ (9 per cent) as the main causes of domestic violence in Nigerian homes.

Furthermore, the poll revealed that victims of domestic violence do not take any action about their cases, implying that most domestic violence cases go unreported. These victims do not take any action mainly ‘to avoid stigmatisation’ (34 per cent), while in other cases it could be as a result of ignorance and illiteracy of victims (21 per cent), emotional attachment to their spouses and partners (18 per cent) and fear of threat or insecurity (17 per cent).

While several individuals, civil society organisations (CSOs) and other relevant stakeholders have risen to fight against the prevalence of this evil in the Nigerian society, Nigerians have suggested that the fostering of mutual understanding in marriages and relationships as well as proper enlightenment on marriage amongst other suggestions will play critical roles in reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in Nigeria.

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of June 13. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed.

Project Alert is a non-governmental women’s rights organisation set up in January 1999 to promote and protect the rights of women and young girls. Project Alert seeks to influence society by actively advocating for zero tolerance for all forms of violence against women / young girls.