Manicaland records Surge in Gender-Based Violence Cases

According to reports from Zimbabwe, Manicaland has recorded a surge in gender-based violence cases, with 49 percent of all criminal cases reported to police since the beginning of the Covid-19 national lockdown being domestic violence related.

Of these cases, 83 percent are said to be happening in the homes and being perpetrated by spouses. Speaking at the launch of a gender-based violence response sensitisation programme in Mutare yesterday, provincial development officer in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Mr Munyaradzi Rubaya said although GBV cases reported in the period under review were low, it was worrying that the home appeared not to be safe anymore.

“We have noted with concern that 49 percent of cases that are being reported to the police involve GBV and 83 percent of these cases are happening in the home,” he said. “This is why we have decided to sensitise communities while they are in their homes on the importance of dealing with these GBV cases during the lockdown.

“You have to keep in mind that these are the reported cases only.”However, GBV takes various forms and some of the cases are not reported. Some cases are dealt with at community level and family level respectively, so they are not reported to the police.”

The sensitisation programme is a partnership between the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Department of Social Welfare and local authorities with the support of development partners such as Family Aids Caring Trust (FACT), Childline, Family Support Trust, Simukai, International Institute of Development Facilitation, Youth Alive and Plan International.

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The programme, which was launched in Zimunya township, will be taken to Dangamvura, Gimboki and Sakubva before being cascaded to all districts in the province.

Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs and Devolution Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said there was need to increase awareness on GBV and how it can be curbed to ensure families co-exist in harmony during the lockdown.

According to the statistics, the crime with the second highest number of cases after domestic violence is rape, which accounts for 28 percent of all reported cases.

Sexual intercourse with minors accounted for 11 percent of the cases and indecent assault six percent. While spouses were the biggest perpetrator of GBV at 50 percent, neighbours were reported to be the second biggest perpetrator with 37 percent of the cases, followed by relatives, strangers, employers and employees who contributed six percent, four percent and three percent respectively.

Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs and Devolution Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said there was need to increase awareness on GBV and how it can be curbed to ensure families co-exist in harmony during the lockdown.

“People had gotten used to going about their business, but now everyone is restricted to the home and this is a new situation bringing about many challenges,” she said.

“Domestic violence is on the increase as people are sharing space in the home. We want to go around educating people on the importance of staying at home during this lockdown.”

The lockdown arrangement is also making it difficult for victims to go and seek help or even report the cases, contributing to the high number of cases going unreported.

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