Worry over surge in GBV cases  

Tendai Kamhungira

THE Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) has renewed calls for authorities to impose mandatory sentences on gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrators following a surge in domestic violence cases.

In a statement, the organisation said it was concerned by the shocking increase from 15 to 49 cases per day and called for a coordinated approach in response to the challenge.
“We remain concerned by the daily increase of GBV during the Covid-19 lockdown wherein daily cases reported to our members have risen from 15 cases per day to not less than 49 cases a day. We remain concerned at the lack of a large scale government-led coordinated approach to respond to GBV.
“We highlight that the failure to ensure mandatory sentences for GBV leaves women vulnerable.
“If stock theft results in jail, surely an appropriate deterrent sentencing policy may be adopted and implemented in Zimbabwe,” the organisation said.
A number of organisations have claimed a surge in the number of domestic violence cases during the Covid-19 related lockdown period.
Globally, there has also been an increase in cases of domestic violence and numerous forms of gender-based violence.
A number of countries, including Zimbabwe, have been implementing strategies to address the challenges.
In April, this year, churches in Zimbabwe raised concern over the increase in the number of domestic violence cases.
“Due to hunger and the inability of families to manage disagreements, violent conflicts have escalated significantly.
“One of our pastors has indicated he has dealt with 13 cases of domestic violence in the last few days. Psycho-social and pastoral counselling has been instituted,” the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) general-secretary Kenneth Mtata said, then.
ActionAid Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation, recently called on the government to put in place comprehensive mechanisms to protect women and children during the lockdown.
This comes as gender and children’s organisations, including Msasa Project and Childline, recorded an increase in the number of cases involving sexual and GBV during the national lockdown.

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