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`Equip police to deal with cases of gender violence`

14th May 2012
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The government has been called upon to improve facilities at police stations to enable the force keep witnesses of Child and Sexual Abuse cases as well as to give privacy to the victims.

A police officer in charge of the Gender and Children Desk in Dar es Salaam Rukia Shomvi made the call recently at a workshop on Gender Based Violence and women’s rights in the constitution organised by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC).

Shomvi said more often witnesses in such cases fled just when the judgment was about to be passed making it impossible for victims to obtain justice.

“Most police stations lack rooms where victims could report freely over what happened, forcing most of them to report at a desk something which can be very intimidating to them,” said Shomvi.

She called upon well wishers to contribute towards the construction of more desks in police posts by making sure that there are infrastructures in place to cater for the services.
For his part, an activist and a journalist from Bunda Belensi China called upon police officers to improve their services in GBV cases saying at times they were accused of destroying evidence and mocking victims.

“It is police officers who should change in their attitudes. Not even a golden desk will change the situation, “said China.
For his part, a doctor from the Reproductive Health Unit at the Muhimbili National Hospital Felix Kisanga said some health practitioners received bribes and interfered with dispensation of justice in child sexual abuse cases, with some destroying evidence that could help the court to come up with a fair trial.

“There is a communication gap between the police, doctors and  social workers in dealing with child sexual abuse issues, a situation which makes the whole process move at a snail pace and give room for suspects to escape during the process. Our country lacks expertise in identifying perpetrators of child sexual abuse.  There is a need to have a drop centre where police, doctors and social officers will all be to handle child sexual abuses,” said Dr Kisanga.

A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 indicated that Tanzania was among the top four countries in GBV incidence.
According to WHO one out of every four people in Tanzania is a victim of GBV.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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