LIVINGSTONE District Police Commanding Officer says the withdrawal of reported Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases by complainants is a hindrance to justice. Livingstone Police Commanding Officer Joseph Chitambo says complainants should make up their minds before reporting cases of GBV to police stations. LIVINGSTONE District Police Commanding Officer says the withdrawal of reported Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases by complainants is a hindrance to justice.
Speaking in a telephone interview with the Lusaka Star, Livingstone district police commanding officer Joseph Chitambo said complainants should make up their minds before reporting cases of GBV to police stations.
Mr. Chitambo said police officers faced challenges when dealing with cases which involved spouses noting that most complainants were in the habit of withdrawing GBV cases before court proceedings could be instituted.
“The challenge that we find in prosecuting GBV Cases especially those that involve spouses is that the complainant would come back to withdraw the case before court proceedings start. This makes it difficult to punish the offenders,” he lamented.
He further observed that Livingstone District Police had recorded a 45 percent gradual reduction in GBV cases attributing the decline to increased sensitisation programs conducted by the Victim Support Unit(VSU).
Mr. Chitambo said the public especially women were slowly beginning to understand the meaning of GBV.
“As police through the Victim support Unit, we have managed to handle cases successfully because many victims after undergoing counselling make sure that the cases are concluded in the courts of law,” he explained.
Mr. Chitambo added that women had started realising their rights and were no longer tolerating GBV in their marriages.
He noted, “It is really an amazing step the women are taking reporting abusive cases to the police having realised the importance of protecting themselves.”
Mr. Chitambo further urged women to report all GBV cases to the nearest police station in order to reduce further cases.
And Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Provincial Coordinating Officer for Southern and Western Province, Faith Simukoko said her organisation had embarked on a sensitisation programme to help reduce GBV cases in her area of operation.
She revealed, “NGOCC is working in collaboration with various key stakeholders like the Victim Support Unit, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) and GBV Clinic at Livingstone General Hospital. The main agenda is community sensitisation and awareness on issues of early marriages and not forgetting GBV.”
She has since expressed the need to educate the communities on issues of GBV as it was a national concern that needed urgent attention from every individual.