Why police make little progress on gender-based violence war

By Hellen Nachilongo @musanachi60 hnachilongo@tz.nationmedia.com

IN SUMMARY
This is bad since it leads to the covering up of crime, the Tanzania Police Female Network (TPF Net) says.

Lack of public awareness on sexual harassment, rape and child abuse hinders police investigations into cases related to gender-based violence.
This is bad since it leads to the covering up of crime, the Tanzania Police Female Network (TPF Net) says.
“Gender-based violence is committed within the community. Without cooperation from the victims’ close friends and relatives, we cannot make much progress,” TPF Net chairperson Tulibake Mkondya said yesterday.

She was speaking ahead of the 10th anniversary of TPF Net.In 2013, police established gender and children’s desks where cases of sexual harassment, rape and child abuse can be report and action taken.
Gender desks are dedicated units in each police station consisting of a reception area, interview and counselling room, resting area and an office.
Women rights activists say despite the prevalence of sexual and physical violence against women and children, survivors rarely tell their stories and only a few cases are reported to the police due to stigma.Some of the cases that are brought before special desks are half-baked, Ms Mkondya told journalists yesterday.

But, according to her, a ‘one-stop centre’ that includes police and social workers had helped fast-track cases related to gender-based violence.Tanzania Police Force spokesman Barnabas Mwakalukwa said despite the establishment of TPF Net, a lot of men were still not reporting gender-based violence cases.

He said culturally men who report violence against them by their partners were looked down upon. He noted that although reported cases of violence against men were few, there are there. In 2016, Iringa and Karagwe recorded the highest number of cases of men being assaulted by their wives. They were accused of being alcoholic and jealous.

However, activists blame bureaucracy for delays in the processing of gender-based violence cases. They say many cases are dropped because women and children are often unable to travel long distances to hear their cases.

According to a 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, 45 per cent of 15- to 49-year-olds reported having been sexually mistreated.
Another government study in 2011 showed that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys have experienced sexual violence and more than 70 per cent of children were sexually abused before the age of 18.