Domestic violence cases spike in Kwekwe amid COVID-19 lockdown

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NEWS DESK

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Kwekwe has decried the spike in domestic violence cases in the district during the lockdown period.

Officer Commanding Kwekwe District Chief Superintendent Conrad Mubaiwa said there was a sharp increase of domestic violence reports in Kwekwe district.

Mubaiwa said the period under review had received more cases compared to similar period in the past.

“Cases of domestic violence are increasing, we are concerned”,

“We have a directive by government that cases of domestic violence will be dealt with at a later stage, so if you are detained for domestic violence prosecution will be postponed until things get better”,

“We will have to place in detention for an indefinite period waiting for situation to improve. Trials house a lot of people magistrate, witnesses, prosecutor, the accused and the complainant. We don’t want to house many people, the option will be to put you in remand” he said.

He urged the public to observe the lockdown regulations saying that people must be wary of Covid-19 pandemic.

“We urge people to shelter in place, making sure that children are not roaming around needlessly”,

“I urge people to buy nearer to where they stay and avoid coming to town” he said.

Mubaiwa also said that men should not shy away from reporting domestic violence if it is meted against them.

Meanwhile, child rights activist, Chengetai Chininga of Katswe Sistahood has also raised concern over the increase of child marriages cases during this lockdown.

She added  that the contributing factors have been attributed to the closure of schools and poverty within households.

“It is imperative that all SGBV stakeholders upscale their interventions during this lockdown to raise awareness on this atrocious and harmful practice and to ensure the safety of girls. Additionally, stiffer penalties for child marriages should be enforced at community and national levels”, said Chengetai.

Musasa Project, an organisation that offer abused women shelter and counselling services, said it had recorded 764 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) between the start of the lockdown on March 30 2020 and April 9 2020.

Musasa said they normally receive 500 to 600 cases per month.

Msasa director Precious Taru said the big jump of 764 cases recorded in 11 days is attributable to the lockdown.

Many of the factors that contribute to domestic violence under normal circumstances have created a combustible mix during lockdown.

The isolation of victims from their families and friends, something abusers often actively seek; unemployment and the attendant financial pressures; as well as increased consumption of alcohol and other substances.

People to spend a lot more time at home in a very stressful period.

For some households that stress is amplified by intense financial pressures.

We know from previous UK research that increases in female unemployment are associated with increases in domestic abuse.

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