Women’s Legal Resource Centre (Wolrec) has said the absence of medical services for victims of gender-based violence (GBV) in rural areas negatively affects their access to justice.
The organisation said if the victims cannot access medical assistance, it becomes difficult for them to get a police report to present to the courts.
Speaking on Friday at Women Socio-economic Empowerment project meeting, Wolrec project officer Chimwemwe Livata said poverty leads many GBV victims in rural areas to be denied justice.
“Most GBV victims fail to report their cases to police because they are required to be examined at the district hospital before a statement is recorded and considering the high cost of transport and the rampant poverty, many get discouraged from pursuing justice,” she said.
Livata said Wolrec is fighting for a policy to lobby health authorities to provide medical examination services of GBV victims right in the rural areas.
Balaka first grade magistrate Felix Mandala said the number of defilement and rape cases in the district is increasing because there is lack of understanding of the law.
“People in rural areas think that when a girl drops out of school she is ready for sex or marriage regardless of age,” he said.