#Legal Sense

Compensation for rape victim

By Funmilayo Olagunju

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The second definition of compensation according to Black’s Law Dictionary is relevant for this subject. Compensation is defined as “payment of damages, or any other act that a Court orders to be done by a person who has caused injury to another.”

In recent years, there are laws that empowers the Court to grant compensation to victims of rape. Section 1(3) of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 is one of such laws and it provides:

“The Court shall also award appropriate compensation to the victim as it may deem fit in the circumstance”.

The recent legal scope of rape is without gender restraint. Both male and female are capable of being raped.

Compensation for victim of rape is not the same thing as fine. The offence of rape is punishable with terms of imprisonment (ranging from minimum of 12 years to life imprisonment) without an option of fine. The amount ordered by the Court as compensation to the victim is not a substitute for the terms of imprisonment.

In the case of ABDULLAHI v. STATE

(2015) LPELR-25928(CA), the Court defines fine and its specifications.

“Fine is a payment of money ordered by a Court from a person who has been found guilty of violating law. It may be specified as the punishment for an offence, usually a minor offence, but could also be specified and used as an option to imprisonment for major crimes or a complement to other punishments specified for such crimes.”

The order of compensation does not make the offence of rape to cease from being a crime. The order of compensation is subject to the discretion of the Court after a finding of guilt.

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Victims of rape should not expect compensation as of right neither should they seek to arrange compensation for themselves.

It is not a lawful arrangement for a victim of rape or other sexual offence to demand money or other form of gratification in exchange for the “withdrawal” or suppression of criminal charges against the defendant. Primarily, crime is against the State and it should be punished for the collective good of the society.

“Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him”

Isaiah 3:11 (KJV)

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Compensation for rape victim

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