The tendency by many women to withdraw cases of abuse from the courts is defeating the fight against violence against women and children, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale has said.
She blamed parents that withdraw cases of abuse from the courts saying the result has been an increase in the violence.
Kachale was speaking at a two-day training workshop for investigators and prosecutors in Blantyre Monday.
The workshop was organised to teach investigators and prosecutors on how to handle cases of violence against women and children.
She said Malawians should be aware that cases such as defilement, sexual or physical abuse towards women, girls and children are criminal offences and hence once reported, cannot be withdrawn because they rest upon the State.
“Government instituted rules or regulations in our health facilities that no one who has experienced some form of abuse should be treated without a police report,” she said
The exercise, Kachale said, has seen many cases of abuse being reported, which is a good thing.
“However, the sad part is that when proceedings of the cases start in court some parents or women would come to withdraw the cases. These are not civil cases that one can just wake up and decide to withdraw a case of such nature.
“That is why we are here to orient our investigators and prosecutors to cling on to such cases until justice prevails,” she said in an interview
Kachale also said some women continue to hide violence that they face in their families on the pretext that it is a family matter.
“Some women are facing abuse in the families but they always say our ‘ankhoswe’ will solve the matter. When a woman is facing abuse of any sort, the matter should be reported to police. No longer should we say violence is a family matter,” she said.
The prosecutors and investigators were drawn from different police posts and stations from the Southern Region and have been oriented on new pieces of legislation including Trafficking in Persons Act, Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and the Anatomy Act.
Statistics from the Ministry of Justice indicate that over half of women in Malawi have experienced some form of gender based violence in the country.
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