Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government will soon set up a Gender Based Violence (GBV) One Stop Centre in Bulawayo to promote effective provision of services to victims under one roof, an official has said.
The One Stop Centre, which has already been commissioned in areas such as Makoni, Gwanda, Gweru and Chinhoyi, is set to be established in the city soon and will also seek to achieve zero tolerance to GBV cases.
Addressing delegates during the Bulawayo Provincial Commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against GBV at the Large City Hall in Bulawayo on Friday, the Acting Provincial Development Officer in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Mr Ntando Mhlanga, said the centre is part of Government’s multi-sectoral approach where organisations from different sectors work together in addressing multiple effects faced by GBV survivors.
The commemorations organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs ran under the theme “Prevention, protection, participation and services end GBV.”
“The Ministry of Women Affairs has adopted the One Stop Centre Model for Gender Based Violence (GBV) service provision having realised that it is the most effective way of ensuring holistic service provision for survivors. Processes to establish such a centre in Bulawayo are already underway and we hope very soon we will be commissioning one in the city,” he said.
“The One Stop Centre model is part of the multi-sectoral approach that the Government is currently implementing in dealing with gender-based violence issues. The model brings together Government departments, civil society organisations, faith based organisations and traditional leaders in a co-ordinated manner to respond to cases of GBV.”
Mr Mhlanga said the One Stop Centre involves provision of health care services such as the administration of Post Exposure Prophylaxis, Emergency Contraceptives amongst a range of clinical services, psychosocial support services, police victim friendly services and legal aid services under one roof.
He said such an approach affords the victims privacy and limits their exposure to further victimisation.
“Gender Based Violence in whatever form has multiple effects on a survivor’s economic well-being, health, safety and security. These effects of GBV call for a multi-sectoral response to effectively address this scourge. In addressing these effects, the One Stop Centre model helps in preventing situations where the victims will have to go to various sectors to look for services putting them into great exposure. This usually makes them reluctant in seeking services in fear of further victimisation,” said Mr Mhlanga.
He said the strategy is also in line with the constitution that mandates the Government to put in place mechanisms to fight against GBV.
“The Government of Zimbabwe remains committed to addressing the problem of GBV. At national level the Government in 2013 adopted a Constitution which provides, in section 25 and 52, for the Government to put in place mechanisms to respond to GBV as well as outlawing marriage of children below the age of 18. The Domestic Violence Act (2007) is also in place to address domestic violence in all forms,” said Mr Mhlanga.
Various stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the National Aids Council (NAC), the National Railways of Zimbabwe and the National Family Planning Council partnered with the Ministry in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence yesterday.
Meanwhile, The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has expressed concern over a continuous increase in cases of gender-based violence in all its forms basing its remarks on statistics released by the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey of 2015 which state that one in three women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence.In a statement yesterday, ZGC urged the judicial system to give deterrent sentences to perpetrators of rape and severely punish them for all other sexual offences.
“We would also like to appeal to the Government to speed up the enhancement of a comprehensive legislative framework to deal with sexual harassment. We urge the community at large to report all forms of GBV to the police or to the commission for justice and redress,” read the statement. — @michellzvanyanyan2