Domestic violence cases on the rise in Zimbabwe
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However, projections show if the trend for 2012 continues, statistics might surpass the 2011 figures as the country has already recorded 3 141 cases of domestic violence for the first quarter of this year.
This came to light during the first visit of the national Anti-Domestic Violence Council to Bulawayo Metropolitan Province yesterday where stakeholders were encouraged to continue raising awareness about the Domestic Violence Act and how it could help bring peace in communities.
The 12-member council was recently appointed by Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Dr Olivia Muchena to facilitate the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and to take all steps to disseminate information and increase awareness on domestic violence.
In a document presented by the council's national coordinator Ms Opper Musumhi-Maravanyika, it was also revealed that courts handled 2 040 cases in 2009, 4 906 in 2010 and 2 665 in the first quarter of 2011.
Ms Musumhi-Maravanyika said the increase was not only an indication that many people were still abused but also that many victims were now reporting the abuse.
"We are glad to be attending our first meeting here in Bulawayo and we want to encourage all stakeholders to participate in the eradication of violence.
"We also have a 2012-2015 strategy that seeks to empower everyone including men so that by the end of 2015, we would have drastically reduced cases of domestic violence," said Ms Musumhi-Maravanyika.
She said some factors contributing to the increase of violence were cultural tendencies and women's economic dependence on men.
She said 1 940 cases of domestic violence were reported to the police in 2008.
"The figure increased to 3 193 in 2009. It went up to 7 628 in 2010 and shot up to 10 351 in 2011. In the first three months of 2012, 3 141 have been reported," said Ms Musumhi-Maravanyika.
Bulawayo provincial development officer Mrs Vaidah Mashangwa said it was important for stakeholders to involve men in all their programmes and to strengthen women who had a tendency of withdrawing cases of abuse.
"We have a long way to go as a Ministry and I call upon our stakeholders to assist women especially to have confidence to report abuse to the police. Many women withdraw cases because of restrictive cultural tendencies and the fact that they depend on their abusive husbands who in most cases are the breadwinners," said Mrs Mashangwa.
She bemoaned the increase in cases of domestic violence, saying there was a need for standardised safe shelters to help victims.
"We need safe shelters in our province as we have only one being run by a non-governmental organisation," said Mrs Mashangwa.
Domestic violence is reportedly on the increase nationwide with police reporting that at least seven people were killed by their partners in separate incidents in 149 cases of domestic violence recorded countrywide in just one week two weeks ago.
Police said of the 149 cases recorded, 143 were allegedly committed by men while women accounted for just six.
A man staying in Bulawayo's Nkulumane suburb died recently after he was severely assaulted by an injiva and his accomplices who accused him of going out with the injiva's wife.
A 28-year-old man from Vumbachikwe Mine in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, allegedly teamed up with his girlfriend and severely assaulted his wife who later died in hospital.
Nkosana Dube (28) of Vumbachikwe Mine Compound who had brought another woman home, turned violent when his wife, Ms Jane Ngulube (39) expressed displeasure at his move.
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