gender based violence

CSOs ask gov’t to increase funding to combat gender based violence

(Last Updated On: 30 November 2023)

Soroti I In a dedicated effort spanning the 16 Days of Activism, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Teso and Karamoja regions are urgently calling upon the government to allocate substantial funds towards eradicating gender-based violence (GBV) within the country.

The distressing surge in gender-based violence is evident from the 17,698 domestic violence cases documented in the 2022 Police Annual Crime Report. The report is compelling the CSOs to push for increased financial backing.

Their plea resonates with the staggering estimation that GBV, annually, the violence cost the Ugandan economy approximately shs77 billion.

During the international campaign on ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) held from November 25th to December 10th, activists, organizations, and individuals worldwide unite their voices in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against GBV.

Peter Eceru, the Programme Coordinator-Advocacy at CEHURD, emphasizes the need for urgent and adaptable funding dedicated to preventing GBV and addressing survivors’ needs.

Also read: 26 Police officers undergo anti-human trafficking, SGBV training

He urges the government to allocate funds for the implementation of laws and policies aimed at preventing and responding to GBV effectively.

Ivan Okiror, an officer at CUO-TEDDO in Amuria district, reveals the proactive approach taken by the Church to combat this societal ill. He highlights the inclusion of gender-based violence messages in sermons to continuously raise awareness among Christians.

Okiror also reveals the Church’s struggles, citing economic and physical violence as affecting clergy members, some of whom suffer in silence due to fear and status-related concerns.

Calling for stronger policy enforcement, Okiror appeals to the government to crack down on perpetrators. He highlights how some Police officers’ negotiations with suspects have discouraged victims from reporting cases, allowing perpetrators to evade justice.

Also read: Lango, Teso teenage mothers and youth trained to fight poverty

Robert Malinga and Robert Olanya, Project Coordinators for the Grow Together Project in Teso and Karamoja sub-regions, identified factors fueling GBV, including excessive alcohol consumption, multiple partners, poverty, and harmful traditional norms increasing violence against women.

Sarah Agiro, a Psychosocial Support Officer at Action Aid Katakwi, illuminates the pressing need and asks the government to support centres that aid GBV survivors. She points out that the 21 GBV shelters managed by CSOs are crucial in providing a haven for survivors.

Agiro discloses that her office in Katakwi for the last 6 months registered 204 GBV cases of which 70 were mediated, 45 concluded and 62 were referred. Most of the cases, she says were criminal in nature. 

John Teko, the MEAL officer at Straight Talk Foundation Karamoja, highlights fear as a significant deterrent in reporting GBV cases, with 39% remaining unreported, even among the working class.

Lawrence Ojulong, the deputy head of the project at Welthungerhilfe calls upon religious, cultural, and political leaders to vocally advocate for the prevention of gender-based violence in public forums.

Joel Tomusange, the Legal Officer at the Uganda Law Society working in Amuria district emphasizes the challenges faced in legal proceedings due to insufficient evidence caused by victims’ fear and threats.

Tomusange stresses the importance of protection orders to safeguard victims, especially when suspects are released on bail and continue to intimidate them.

 

By Robert Edwomu

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