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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

`Gender-based violence on rise in Zanzibar`

14th December 2011

Gender-based violence has been on the rise in the Zanzibar, while a civil organization to assist those in need has called for more coordination among stakeholders, Xinhua reports.

Although Zanzibar managed to establish a centre for helping abused women and children at Mnazi Mmoja main hospital, it emerges that the centre has not been fully effective due to many challenges.

Fatma Ali, a consultant at the 'one-stop centre' said at a meeting to discuss gender-based violence (GBV) here on Sunday that between three and five cases of abuse were received at the centre daily.

"We need permanent skilled personnel, commitment, honest, proper coordination among the players at the centre, particularly police, medical doctors, and legal advisors for efficiency," she said.

The centre, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), was established five months ago through the initiatives from Zanzibar's Ministry of Social Welfare, Youths, Children, and Women Development, and the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) as one of the interventions in gender-based violence.

Despite an ongoing awareness campaign, surveys conducted between 2007 and 2009 show that GBV, which include woman and child abuse, is on the rise in Zanzibar, prompting stakeholders to call for increased interventions.

Police officers and courts are widely blamed for dishonesty, as police officer Faki Yussuf admits but also says, "Victims of abuse and witnesses are reluctant to turn up to give evidence if asked to do so. We need collaborative and coordinated efforts to end GBV," he said.

He, however, admitted that some police officers and courts were to blame for the spread of the vice when the victims are unable to pay bribes to investigating officers or court clerks.ds

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