As Tanzanians prepare themselves to join their colleagues in the world to celebrate the International Family Day, several studies show that 60 per cent of acts of violence against children occur at home.
Speaking in Bahi District over the weekend, Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups Dr Dorothy Gwajima said the studies further reveal that those who commit acts of violence are family members and close relatives.
According to the minister, 40 per cent of GBV acts are committed outside the family settings such as schools, places of worship, recreational area etc.
“Violence against children occurs most often in community settings but several studies indicate that majority of cases happen at home,” insisted the minister.
Dr Gwajima said that the biggest challenge of dealing with violence against children is the silence and the habit of resolving and ending cases clandestinely at family level.
She said family members have developed the tendency of resolving cases of gender-based violence on their own, a practice that denies victims of their right to access justice from law enforcement organs, as information on the malpractice is not availed to government authorities.
“It is unfortunate that we, the parents, have relieved ourselves from the duty of raising our children, that’s why many acts of brutality happen at our homes. We have left children to raise themselves, that’s why it becomes easier for them to fall into the traps of ill-mannered and bad people, ending up being raped, “she said.
Giving data, the minister said the Police Force information shows that from January to December 2022, cases of violence against children reported were 12,163, where incidents involving female children were 9,962 and male children were 2,201.
“In 2021 of GBV cases reported were 11,499, meaning that in 2021 cases increased by 664 , equivalent to 5.8 per cent” said Dr Gwajima.
She also noted that the leading incidents are rape 6,335, sexism 1,557 and child pregnancies 1,557 where the regions that gave the biggest figures were Arusha 728 incidents, Mbeya 710 incidents, Kinondoni 681, Tanga 607 incidents and Mwanza 595 incidents.
She said that time is ripe to be ashamed and stop the hostility of attacking children. Minister Gwajima added that the society should break the silence and stop feeling shame to report incidents of violence against children.
Dr Gwajima also called on all families to use the Family International Day to discuss challenges and find solutions and answers on how to develop peace and love in order to maintain unity in the family and society as a whole.
Dr Gwajima also asked all regions and council leaders to participate fully as well as involve religious leaders, parents, guardians and children themselves in matters concerning children’s security, education and development, so as to stop immoral actions that continues and grows rapidly in the society.
On his part, the Bahi District Commissioner, Godwin Gondwe said that the district will step up efforts to battle and eradicate violence against children, because without collective efforts, the nation will lose its workforce in the future.
“In Bahi District, we are more practical and to prove this we have started clubs against child violence from the district to family level, we will be educating and raising awareness on the importance of protecting our children, starting at home to ensure that we grow together in this struggle,” he said.
The celebration of international family day is held on May 15 every year and this year is carried by the slogan “Strengthen Morals and Love for a Strong Family”.