Upsurge in domestic violence

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STATISTICS from the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) have revealed that Matabeleland South has the second highest domestic violence prevalence rate of 74% in Zimbabwe.

PERPETUAL PHIRI
OWN CORESSPONDENT

Speaking at a stakeholder’s third quarter co-ordinating meeting held in Gwanda on Thursday, inspector Dorcas Ngwenya said Matabeleland South domestic violence cases increased from January to August.

Ngwenya said VFU officers have conducted awareness campaigns to reduce cases of domestic violence and 669 campaigns had been held so far.

“According to our survey, men are the chief perpetrators of domestic violence and most cases received so far involve women and children below the age of 15, mostly victims of sexual abuse,” Ngwenya said.

“Our main concern is to reduce these cases as we have noticed that one out of four households experiences violence.”
She said they would fast-track domestic violence cases and lobby the courts not to give perpetrators suspended sentences to reduce the abuse.

Recent statistics shared by the Chief Magistrates’ Office indicate that from January to April, a total of 2654 new cases of domestic violence were received by the courts.

Gwanda magistrate Arafat Kozanai said most domestic violence cases involve a misunderstanding between intimate partners over “petty issues”.

“Somehow, there have to be awareness campaigns in these communities because GBV (gender-based violence) cases are escalating,” Kozanai said. “Seriously, how can a man be so adamant to discipline his wife for not feeding dogs?” Kozanai asked.

Ngqobizitha Ncube from the Victim Friendly Clinic said they were facing challenges as people did not know when to report these cases.

“We rarely receive fresh cases as women don’t know their rights. They think abuse is part of love; they under-report and some delay to report domestic violence and sexual abuse cases,” he said.