The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare’s Legal Section has disclosed that each week it is registering not less than 50 cases of domestic violence which are putting a strain on the section’s capacity to handle cases.
The ministry said cases such as sexual offences against young girls, deceased estates misappropriation against women and children are also on the rise.
According to the principal secretary at the ministry, Mary Shawa, such high number of cases will require more lawyers to join the legal section to handle the cases.
Said Shawa: “The legal section is also currently assisting police with advice on gender-based criminal offences. Police have been seeking help of legal counsel of the ministry to assist in ensuring better prosecution and speedy trials of cases of sexual violence, deceased estates, gender-based violence (GBV), among others, hence, there is need for more lawyers to assist police professionally in the cases in order to secure convictions and access to justice”.
A report from the ministry shows that over 525 cases have been lodged with the ministry’s Legal Section from August 2015 to January 2016.
According to the report, only 11 cases on sexual offences have been handled and three cases, successfully secured convictions.
The sentences ranged from eight years to 10 years imprisonment.
The report also shows that 15 cases that the Legal Section handled on deceased estates have been concluded.
The ministry also handled 12 cases on distribution of matrimonial property to prevent deprivation of the same from married women upon separation and divorce. While eight cases were concluded through litigation, mediation and consent agreements.
The section has also concluded 16 cases on child maintenance and child custody, these cases were handled through mediations.