Government Takes Steps to Combat Gender-Based Violence with Regional Centers
In an effort to combat Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and provide comprehensive support to victims, the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development is in the process of establishing regional centers. These centers will be equipped with a range of professionals dedicated to assisting GBV victims.
Mubarak Mayanja, the Principal Women in Development Officer at the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development, emphasized the commitment to ensuring that these regional centers offer comprehensive services. These services will include legal assistance and medical care, with lawyers and medical professionals stationed at the centers to provide aid to GBV survivors.
Mayanja explained, “Our plan is to have regional centers in every region offering comprehensive residential services. Currently, we are collaborating with health centers and hospitals, where health workers provide assistance. We now aim to station medics at GBV shelters to offer medical treatment and examinations, lawyers for legal aid, and Police for investigations.”
Moreover, the Ministry is considering extending services to men, excluding accommodation. During a recent meeting aimed at promoting Gender-Based Violence Laws and Policies, Mayanja clarified that psychosocial support and legal aid would be available to men as well.
Peter Eceru, the program coordinator at the advocacy group CEHURD, highlighted that the majority of GBV survivors are women. He noted that in 2022, 114 men and 145 women lost their lives due to domestic violence. Despite existing legal and policy measures, GBV cases continue to persist or increase, suggesting that the current approach may need adjustments. Eceru called for a review of the law and increased resource allocation to institutions responsible for addressing GBV.
Furthermore, Eceru stressed the necessity of a witness protection law, particularly for young survivors or witnesses of GBV during prosecution. Such a law would encourage more people to come forward and testify, ultimately leading to more convictions.
Reverend Esther Sabiiti, a religious leader at St. Luke’s Church Ntinda, expressed the Church of Uganda’s commitment to fighting GBV. They provide pro bono services, particularly for women who cannot afford to pay for assistance. Additionally, the church offers support to teenage girls who have given birth before reaching the age of consent, showing their dedication to addressing this critical issue.