Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government is considering constructing more shelters for gender-based violence (GBV) victims across the country.
Currently, through Public-Private partnerships, the country has established 13 GBV shelters in different parts of the country.
The shelters provide temporary accommodation as referral linkages are made to ensure the victims or survivors are assisted with emergency care or first aid, counseling, psycho-social support and legal aid. The shelters also enable the victims and survivors to cope with the after-effects of violence through life skills and capacity building programmes.
Peace Mutuuzo, the State Minister for Gender and Culture Affairs says that they want to ensure that the shelters are spread all over the country as a one-stop centre where the victims can be rehabilitated and provided with legal services.
Mutuuzo says that gender-based violence is on the rise in communities with defilement leading at 50% and sexual violence at 22 percent. She however says that the numbers could be high since there are few cases reported to the authorities.
According to Mutuuzo, consultations are already going on between the government and other partners like the UNFPA, Judiciary, and police about the shelters.
Despite the existence of the Domestic Violence Act, 2010, which calls for the establishment of the shelters, its implementation is still low.
Last month, Members of the Gender Committee of Parliament questioned the government’s commitment to end Gender-Based Violence.
The MPs asked the government to commit more funding to GBV shelters and rescue centres across the country.
Cases of Gender-Based Violence still top the list of crimes that were committed in the country according to the 2020 Police crime report and have gone up in recent months, following a COVID-19 induced lockdown that left millions of people stuck in homes across the country.
The Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2016 reported that 51 percent of women aged 15-49 years had experienced physical violence, while the police annual crime report 2020 indicated a 29 percent increase in cases of domestic violence reported to police from 13,893 in 2019 to 17,664 cases in 2020.
The report also put the Eastern and Northern regions with the highest cases of domestic violence in the country.