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Bundibugyo registers spike in domestic violence cases

Bundibugyo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is a spike in cases of domestic violence in Bundibugyo district, which has triggered concern among local authorities. Statistics gathered by Bundibugyo District Child and Family Protection Unit show that 237 cases of domestic violence took place between January and June.

The unit reported 485 cases of domestic violence in the 2019/2020 financial year alone. This is in addition to 263 cases of child neglect and 48 cases of defilement. According to the records, 436 cases were resolved through courts of law and mutual agreements.

Information from police shows that they registered 103 cases of child neglect and 21 cases of defilement from 327 families between January and June this year. Faith Kabafumu, the OC in charge of the Child Protection Unit says that children are the most affected in these cases.

She says that the COVID-19 lockdown has exposed children to a risky lifestyle and to offenders who usually take advantage of their age and domestic challenges.

Kabafumu says her office expects the numbers to increase, as more people get distressed. She however says that none of the cases has reached court because of the lockdown.

The District Probation Officer Grace Pamela says the lockdown and its after-effects that include loss of jobs is likely to further fuel the already high cases of domestic violence. She says they found out that poverty and disagreements over property ownership are contributing greatly to domestic conflicts.

She says that the district is relying on the efforts of Non-governmental organizations and volunteers to raise awareness against GBV due to the absence of adequate resources.

Christine Atukunda who works with the Agency in Co-operation for Research and Development ACORD, a local NGO empowering young women and girls says that they are worried that culprits are likely to walk court-free due to the lockdown restrictions.

Bundibugyo District Education Officer-DEO, Justus Bithaghalire says that the conflicts among parents directly have an impact on their children, which force some of them to flee from home. Jane Asiimwe from Humya trading centre attributes the current conflicts to financial challenges.

She argues that once couples fail to meet their day-to-day needs, they begin accusing each other of petty issues, which often escalate into violence.

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