Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) executive director Engwase Mwale says there is need for a coordinated multi sectoral approach to curb Sexual Gender Based Violence.

Last week, Zambia Police released the 2019 Second Quarter GBV Statistics Report, with 6,139 cases reported in the second quarter an increase of 9% or 555 cases compared to 5,584 cases reported in the first quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, police revealed that child defilement had 583 reported cases in comparison with 734 cases during same period in 2018 which marked a decrease of 26%.

Commenting on these statistics in a statement, Wednesday, Mwale said while a minimal decrease was reported on child defilement cases, there was need for more action to be taken by all stakeholders to curb Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in all its forms.

“NGOCC calls for a coordinated multi sectoral approach to curb SGBV, which will include all stakeholders: Government, the private sector, the church and civil society. During the second quarter of 2018; 6, 074 cases were recorded countrywide against 6, 139 cases recorded in 2019 showing an increase of 65 cases which translates to 1.1 per cent increase. In comparison terms, the just released statistics show a marginal increase in the overall cases recorded by 65 cases (about 1.1%),” Mwale said.

“NGOCC is disheartened and remains deeply concerned at the rise in the number of GBV reported cases which are even resulting in deaths. It is sad that more women and girls are the worst affected by this vice. It is clear that SGBV is fast becoming a national crisis that is not only causing death but also negatively affecting the productivity of the country. Instead of citizens being more productive, they are spending time care giving and nursing effects of SGBV. Time to act against SGBV Is now. Thus, we call upon all citizens to fight SGBV in all its forms.”

She urged women and girls to report cases of GBV saying it would reduce the number of cases and punish the perpetrators.

“We specifically appeal to the women and girls out there to report these cases of SGBV. We are aware that a number of girls and women are dying in silence at the hands of abusers and perpetrators. SGBV is not only a crime but a serious violation of human rights. We are sad to note that out of the reported GBV cases countrywide, only 604 cases representing 9.8% were taken to court resulting in 83 convictions, 48 were withdrawn at court representing 8% with 3,104 cases withdrawn at Police Stations. This is a worrying picture and more needs to be done to ensure that an efficient and speedy justice system is in place to address the needs of survivors, especially women and girls. It is NGOCC’s view that the country will only see a reduction in GBV cases when perpetrators are brought to book,” said Mwale.

Meanwhile, in an interview, Zambian National Men’s Network for Gender and Development (ZNMNGD) national coordinator Nelson Banda said the network was disturbed that during the same period, 20 women and men lost lives in GBV related murders which could have been avoided if people sought counselling unlike turning to violence.

“We are equally disturbed that during the same period 20 women and men lost lives in GBV related murders which could have been avoided if people sought counseling unlike turning to violence. ZNMNGD is further concerned that 3,104 cases were withdrawn at Police Stations representing more than half of the total number GBV cases recorded countrywide. In response to the ever increasing GBV cases, the ZNMNGD is launching a three year campaign dubbed, “the Trusted Men Campaign”, as a new strategy to build a cadre of men and boys who will serve as positive role models in building positive behaviors for a more gender responsive society. The Trusted men Campaign members will reach out to other men in their own spaces such as Bars, Markets, Bus Stops, Churches, Schools, Political parties and communities with sensitisation messages against GBV,” said Banda.

“The increasing GBV cases in the country challenges all of us at individual, institutional and community levels to take new approaches and strategies to advocate for heightened sensitisation and stiffen punishment such as life imprisonment for defilers and rapists if we are to serve the lives of our women and girls and ultimately win the fight which at the moment seems to be getting out of hand.”