ZANU PF Goromonzi West MP and chairperson of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus Beatrice Nyamupinga has accused the police and the Judiciary of paying lip service to issues relating to gender-based violence.
Addressing stakeholders attending commemorations to mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in her constituency on Tuesday, Nyamupinga said several victims of violence were now reluctant to report cases of abuse.
The function was organised by Women in Politics Support Unity.
“We do not encourage domestic violence and people in rural areas are not reporting these cases because they are afraid of being judged and interrogated by the police,” she said.
“In the end many people are affected, including innocent children.
“People are not reporting some of these cases because they are not guaranteed protection and security once they report the perpetrator to the police as these perpetrators are at times given light sentences.”
Nyamupinga urged the courts to pass prohibitive sentences on perpetrators of domestic violence.
She also encouraged the setting up of victim-friendly groups in rural areas to offer counselling services to victims and perpetrators.
“It is surprising how some of these cases keep on being postponed in the courts and at times cattle rustlers are even given harsher penalties than perpetrators of gender-based violence,” Nyamupinga said.
“Some of them are even freed and it becomes hard to bear for those who would have been abused. The issue of domestic violence should be scrutinised in Parliament to cater for the shortcomings.”
Cases of domestic violence in the country have steadily increased since 2008 where 1 940 cases were reported, with recent reports showing that 10 351 cases were reported in 2011.
By the first quarter of this year, over 3 141 had been reported.