FRANCISTOWN: Mayor Godisang Radisigo has lamented the increasing number of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases in Francistown.
Speaking during a press briefing held in Francistown last week he said the second city has experienced a significant increase in cases reported to various service providers by victims seeking redress.
“The statistics from January to the 24th of September 2020 show that various providers had registered high numbers of cases that needed attention. A total of 127 cases of rape, 155 cases of defilement, 37 cases of threat to kill, 24 cases of murder and 216 cases of physical abuse were registered and processed at police, Magistrate and various non-governmental organizations serving in our city,” he said.
He said these numbers do not exist in a vacuum but are a direct result of undesirable social behaviour that must be targeted for practical solutions.
Radisigo said their strategy as a city should look at prevention, protection, care and support for survivors. The mayor also said the ramifications of Covid-19 have not spared them as a city. He explained that the sustained restriction of movement meant vulnerable victims were confined to their homes with abusive spouses, partners and family members with limited access to support services.
“All operations by service providers must now focus on social and behaviour change, involve communities, male involvement in issues of gender-based violence, legal and judicial protection, psychosocial support health care services and most importantly, rehabilitation of perpetrators to avoid repeating offenses,” said the Mayor.
Narrating some of the challenges that Francistown is facing on issues of GBV, he said there is inadequate resources, limited implementation of strategies targeting norms and standards, lack of effective and integrated response system that brings together key players like the police, the justice and the health departments, counseling as well as other service providers. He also said there is a problem of inadequate reporting by the victims and their families or communities on gender-based violence.
“There is also inadequate reporting by the media. The other problem is inadequate child friendly settings in the justice system and law enforcement systems,” he said.
The mayor emphasized that there is need for a close-knit service provider community that supports each other and shares resources for the greater good. He also said there is need to resuscitate of the city’s Gender Committee that will manage all responses and report regularly to their Main District Development Committee.