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Civil society, police demand compensation fund for victims of gender based violence

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The International Conference on Great Lakes Region-ICGLR has asked the government to introduce a compensation fund for victims of Sexual Gender-Based Violence- SGBV.

The organisation says that several victims develop health complications after undergoing abuse and can’t afford to seek medical assistance due to financial constraints.

Dora Kanabahika, a lead consultant at the ICGLR Regional Training Facility says that it is not enough for government to prosecute the perpetrators and abandon the victims.

Kanabahika says as victims seek justice in courts of law, they should also be given a stimulus package.

Kanabahika says that the government needs to adopt an integral model of dealing with survivors and perpetrators of SGBV such that the victims’ psycho-social, economic and legal needs are all catered for.

Last year, ICGLR through its Regional Training Facility on prevention and suppression of SGBV conducted a study in in which they found that services offered to survivors of SGBV are scattered and that there was no systematic way of offering all the needed services.

Kanabahika gave an example of organisations that offer counselling services to victims but do not offer mental health even when it is needed. She says the government should establish one-stop centres where victims of SGBV are rehabilitated and later compensated before being reintroduced into society.

The acting Commissioner Sexual and Children Offences Department of Police Rosemary Nalubega say when victims are compensated, it might reduce the levels at which parents and guardians negotiate with child offenders and frustrate prosecution in exchange for money.

She says cases of SGBV involving children are rarely prosecuted because parents and guardians negotiate with perpetrators to the detriment of victims.

Nalubega also says that government needs to expedite the process of enacting witness protection laws to shield witnesses and victims of SGBV.

Francis Ogwang, a trainer in suppression and prevention of SGBV says that government also needs to introduce a stimulus package for perpetrators such that as they come out of prison, they are encouraged to work, earn and lead a decent life.

He also emphasized the need to offer counselling to perpetrators while in prison such that they not only serve sentences but come back as reformed people. He says several perpetrators return to commit the same crimes for which they were arrested because they were not offered psycho-social support.

According to the 2020 Annual Police Crime Report, 17,664 cases of domestic violence were reported by police compared to 13,693 reported in 2019 hence an increase of 29 percent.

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