Women’s group blames COVID-19 for increased GBV cases in 2020

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Women’s group blames COVID-19 for increased GBV cases in 2020
Women’s group blames COVID-19 for increased GBV cases in 2020

Africa-PressZambia. The Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) has attributed the increase in Gender Based Violence(GBV) cases in the year 2020 to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation has indicated that in the third quarter of 2020 alone, the Zambia Police recorded a total of 7,640 GBV cases countrywide out of which 1,849 were children representing 24.2 percent of all victims with 1,363 being girls.

ZNWL Executive Director Juliet Chibuta in a statement issued to ZANIS today, says the police observed that during the initial stage of the COVID -19, victims of GBV were hesitant to report cases due to restrictions on the movements in the prevention of the spread the pandemic.

“GBV cases remained high due to the social isolation measures instituted to curb the spread of the virus, this proved to have worsened women inequalities and vulnerability,’’ she said.

Ms Chituta added that there is a need to put in place measures that can guarantee women’s safety and wellbeing.

“The GBV prevention and response plans should be sensitive to the needs of women and girls including in the “New Normal” set-up. Such plans should include creation of more safe homes for survivors and would- be victims as well as access to toll -free lines,” she explained.

Ms Chibute further noted that it is the duty of every citizen to support efforts towards reducing the occurrence of all types of GBV, because every individual is affected directly or indirectly.

In a related development, Ms Chituta also noted that the health of women generally was adversely impacted at the height of the pandemic through the reallocation of resources and priorities.

“Women and girls’ unique health needs were not adequately met as access to some health services, essential medicines including reproductive health services was reduced,’’

She stressed that the standard health services especially for maternal health care, HIV treatment and other emergency health issues need to be guaranteed at all times.

Meanwhile Ms Chibuta noted that in the year 2020, women continued to ascend to leadership and scored many firsts in different fields.

‘’Notable was the appointment of Ms. Veronica Makwakwa Mwiche as Permanent Secretary for Eastern Province. Ms. Cecilia Zimba was the first woman to be elected president of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants while Ms. Mukwandi Chibesakunda was appointed Chief Executive Officer of ZANACO Bank, ’she noted.

Ms Chibuta however stated that the continued increase in women’s participation in the country’s leadership is significant for the attainment of gender equality in Zambia.

“We hope that in 2021 even more women will ascend to leadership and decision-making positions and that processes that can facilitate women’s increased participation in leadership such as the implementation of the Gender Equality and Equity Act will begin,” she said.

She further encouraged women with political leadership aspirations to begin the ground work in preparation for adoption and campaigns as the country is headed towards the general elections in 2021.

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