Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Legal Aid Service Provider’s Network-LASPNET has rolled out a community-legal watch brief campaign aimed at combating the increasing cases of Gender-Based Violence-GBV in Mukono, Buikwe and Kayunga districts.
The campaign funded by European Union will run for a period of two years at a cost of 45,000 euros. LASPNET Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa, says that the campaign is aimed at training community watch committees to identify and report GBV cases, equip them with bicycles for monitoring and toll-free lines that they will use to report violence cases to designated lawyers for follow up.
She says that the campaign was prompted by the rampant cases of violence reported in the three districts in the media, police report (2020) and LASPNET baseline survey that confirmed violation of human rights, life-threatening, health and protection issues during the COVID-19 period where domestic violence, rape, defilement and child-related offences were more prevalent.
She says that community members who have volunteered to champion the monitoring and reporting of GBV cases have received training, 200 bicycles and toll-free lines. URN has established that 48 percent of the 193 defilement cases reported at Mukono Police Division did not reach court.
Namubiru says that most of the survivors handle these cases alone and usually lack knowledge of where to turn for help, adding that some police officers need monitoring to execute their mandate.
LASPNET has engaged various organizations to provide free legal aid services to the survivors including Uganda Christian Lawyer’s Fraternity at Kayunga, Justice Centers Uganda in Mukono and Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS-UGANET, Action against Violence and Islamic Women’s Initiative for Justice, Law and Peace and Action Against Violence in Buikwe district.
Henry Wajego, a Village Health Worker-VHT in Wakisi division, Njeru municipality says that their area has been receiving several GBV cases but survivors have been missing justice after losing interest at police where they are asked to fund investigations.
Harriet Ssanyu, the Kkoome sub county Islands Community Development Officer reveals that GBV cases in islands and landing sites rarely reach centers of justice. She notes that survivors often lack means of transport to access police, health facilities for examination and make follow ups in the courts of laws.
Kayunga District Chief Administrative Officer-CAO, Roselin Adongo Ruhoni has applauded LASPNET for lobbying such a project, she says it will greatly help reduce GBV cases in the area. She notes that GBV cases are still common because of limited awareness, ability to deal with the justice system, limited resources and skills by both formal and informal justice actors to effectively respond to the cases.