Role of Govt departments in ending GBV 

Source: Role of Govt departments in ending GBV | The Herald February 12, 2020

Role of Govt departments in ending GBV

Features Correspondent
Gender-based violence (GBV), and most especially violence against women and girls, is a serious, prevalent and deep-rooted challenge.

The severity of such violence is one of the factors contributing to inequality between men, women, girls and boys in Zimbabwe and as such a coor-dinated approach is required to tackle the problem.

In this article, we outline the roles being played by various Government departments and non-State players such as civil society organisations in the fight against GBV.

This article outlines the roles played by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education; Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services; Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Com-munity Development.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education

The ministry has a unique position to ensure children’s awareness of their right to protection from sexual violence and abuse and to identify chil-dren who may have had this right violated.

As education officials spend a considerable amount of time with children, they have a critical support function to child survivors. Hence, the role the school plays cannot be overemphasised in the safeguarding of children.

The role of the schools

  • Educate children on their rights and responsibilities
  • Promote peer support for abused children
  • Liaise with relevant stakeholders in cases of child abuse; parents; police, courts, health, social welfare and relevant CSOs.
  • Facilitate reporting of criminal child abuse cases to the police.
  • Provide guiding and counselling to children.

Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services
The ministry has a critical role in the identification of technology-facilitated sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); supporting survivors to ac-cess statutory services, assisting survivors and families to cope with the effects of the technology facilitated SGBV.

The ministry is responsible for:

  • Development of national strategies and policies on elimination of technology facilitated SGBV.
  • Establishing and safeguarding online safe environments, and to meaningfully address gender-based violence.
  • Carrying out awareness raising on causes and effects of technology facilitated SGBV to communities..

 Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services

The ministry is responsible for:

  • Disseminating information on policies that promote the protection of vulnerable groups from SGBV.
  • Articulation of Government position and views on SGBV.
  • Awareness raising through media on causes and effects of SGBV to communities through campaigns, providing platforms for artists to promote prevention of SGBV.
  • Training of media stakeholders on reporting of SGBV.
  • Regulating information on SGBV reported through the media.

Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development
Wherever women are oppressed by virtue of their gender roles, children are at an increased risk of violence.

Violence against children is a global concern.

Violence compromises child development and increases the risk of poor health, poor school performance and long-term welfare dependency. It is often associated with poverty and deprivation, and inhibits the potential of individuals and nations.

The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development is the lead ministry in coordinating SGBV policies.

It is mandated to administer the Domestic Violence Act [Chapter 5:16]. Due to its accessibility, the ministry is usually the first port of call for survi-vors of SGBV, including domestic and sexual violence.

The ministry is responsible for:

  • Development of national SGBV strategies and policies.
  • Coordination of stakeholders working on SGBV at National. Provincial and District level.
  • Awareness raising campaigns on causes and effects of SGBV to communities
  • Community education on the referral system and reporting procedures on SGBV.
  • Spearheading prevention and protection strategies for survivors, including safe shelters and economic empowerment initiatives for women.
  • Spearheading commemorations and 16 Days of Activism against SGBV in line with national, regional and international requirements.

The article was prepared by Justice for Children (JCT). The article aims to educate and inform the populace on the Protocol on the Multi-Sectoral Management of Sexual Abuse and Violence in Zimbabwe, through popularising how survivors of sexual abuse and violence can use the protocol as they seek protection.

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