Cruelty, GVB still  high  in Zanzibar- Report

ZANZIBAR : CRUELTY and Gender Based Violence (GBV) are still issues of concern in Zanzibar as a total of 168 incidents were reported in July this year compared to 127 cases recorded in June this year.

The July victims included 22 women (13.1 percent), 136 children (81.0 percent) and 10 men equivalent to 5.9 reported, among the children, 109 (80.1 percent) were girls and 27 (19.9 percent) were boys.

According to Ms Ramla Hassan- statistician from Labour and Gender division, Office of the Chief Government Statistician (OCGS)-Zanzibar, concerted efforts are still important in addressing the problem.

She explained during the monthly statistical release of ‘Zanzibar cruelty and gender-based violence statistics’ for July this year that Unguja Magharibi (or West “A”) district reported  46  cases which is the highest number of incidences  (equivalent to 47.4 percent).

“Urban (Mjini) district is the next with the highest number of 40 incidences (23.8 percent) while North Pemba- Micheweni district has the lowest number of incidences only one (1) equivalent to 0.6 percent,” she said.

Children aged between 15 and 17 were reported to be the highest number of victims, 76 victims (55.9 percent) out of total number of children, followed by victims aged between 6 and 10 years with 35 incidences equivalent to 25.7 percent.

The common crimes included rape (79), defilement and sodomy (15), abduction for sex (11), and physical assault (34), and that 124 out of 168 reported cases were still under police investigation (equivalent to 73.8 percent), 39 incidences sent to Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) and five in Court.

OCGS in collaboration with the United Nations of Women’s Organization (UN Women) and Police Gender desk at its headquarters have developed a mechanism that enables the office to improve gender statistics.

The main objective of the release is to provide timely cruelty and gender-based violence incidents information in Zanzibar. This information is useful for planners, policy makers and decision makers and other stakeholders to find ways to address them.

Cruelty and Gender based violence is any act or conduct, which directly inflicts on a person physical, sexual or mental suffering via threat, coercion or other means; aimed at intimidating, punishing, humiliating, undermining security or self-respect; satisfying sexual desire; or weakening physical or mental capacity of an individual because of her or his gender.

The offences include sexual harassment, wife-battering, sexual abuse of girls and boys, female genital mutilation, female infanticide, abortion, enforced prostitution, women and girls trafficking, and pornography.

The Criminal Procedure Act 7/2018 section 151 (1) has provisions that do not allow for provision of bail for any person accused of GBV related cases, as well as increase of sentences that the courts may pass. For instance, at Regional Courts on GBV cases from seven years to 14 years and for High Court from 30 years to life imprisonment upon conviction.

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