The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has distributed complaint boxes in public primary schools under a youth and schools outreach programme called Safe Schools Initiative which encourages pupils to report cases of abuse to police.
Under the project, children will be drilled on their rights, on how to protect themselves and report cases of abuse to relevant authorities in a bid to create a conducing environment for the minors.
In an interview today, National Child Protection officer for MPS, Alexander Ngwala, police also intend to sensitise chiefs so that they discourage cultural practices that promote violence against children.
Said Ngwala: “The Malawi police will continue revamping community policing structures in to enhance prevention of child abuse cases and also conducting awareness meetings targeting the community through visits as well as using electronic and print media to sensitise communities.”
“The police will also strengthen the management of official website (www.police.gov.mw), facebook page, twitter account and google+ as additional reporting mechanisms.”
Executive Director for Eye of the Child Maxwell Matewere commended the initiative, saying it will encourage many children to report abuses.
“Research has shown that most of the abusers are close members of the family and the environment becomes unfavourable when such people continue staying close to the children especially after being exposed,” said Matewere.
According to national police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa, Malawi reported 1335 cases of defilement in 2015 against 1033 cases in 2014 representing a 29 percent increase.
Inspector General of MPS Lexten Kachama signed the Violence Against Children (VACs) 10 point plan which was developed on the occasion of the launch of the Violence Against Children and Young Women Survey in March 2015.
The plan illustrates efforts by the government to achieve a significant reduction in violence including defilement and improved access to quality services for survivors of abuse.