The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare said it registered tremendous progress in the fight against child abuse in the just ended year.
In an interview on Monday, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Mary Shawa said although official statistics were not yet out, records have shown that many cases reported to police were handled and concluded by the courts.
Said Shawa: “I am happy that many people are now coming out to report cases that constituted child abuse. The introduction of mobile courts and the coming in of a lawyer in the ministry has also enabled many to access justice.”
She, however, warned parents and relations who shield perpetrators of abuse or tamper with evidence to protect abusers that the law will take its course on them.
“We will keep chasing such parents and guardians and they will be punished. Even those who fail to take proper care of their children by allowing them to go begging on the streets, we have already started punishing them and we will continue doing so,” Shawa said.
National child protection officer, Alexander Ngwala, said the Malawi Police Service (MPS) registered 169 cases of defilement in the first-quarter of 2015; 170 cases in the second-quarter and 199 cases in the third-quarter.
“Figures for the last quarter of 2015 will be ready by mid-January but all in all, Lilongwe registered highest incidences of sexual violence in 2015 followed by Zomba, Mzuzu and Blantyre,” he said.
Ngwala attributed the positive development to increased awareness on the importance of reporting such cases, which he said assisted in breaking the silence that was there in the communities.
He also said community policing structures played a vital role in ensuring that tips on cases of defilement were passed on to police for proper action.
A recent Violence Against Children national survey found that one out of every five girls in the country experience sexual violence before turning 18. n