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Pallisa registers increase in gender based violence

Pallisa, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A survey carried out by Action Aid has revealed that Pallisa district registered 150 cases of gender based violence during the period of March and May.

Uganda was under lockdown from March 18th to avoid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) before some of the directives where partially lifted.

The report sanctioned by the Action Aid Pallisa office released on Sunday shows that in the month of March, 10 cases (all women) were reported, 57 cases with 37 for women and 20 for men were reported in the month of April, 59 cases were reported for May and 24 cases have been reported at police stations since the beginning of June.

It also shows that the sub counties of Opwateta, Apopong and Gogonyo are the ones with high violence rates in the district of Pallisa.

Shibah Namulindwa, a programs manager at Action Aid Pallisa said the cases of gender based violence in only three months has led the increase to 80% compared to 45% in the previous year.

Namulindwa adds that many cases of gender based violence have not been reported due to the COVID-19 lockdown which restricted people from moving to different places and offices to report.

John Michael Ogwalinga, the Pallisa district probation officer says that during the three months’ lockdown, he received 25 cases of women and men who complain of being abandoned by their spouses and being battered.

Ogwalinga attributed the increasing cases of violence to the income cut for most men who have been bread winners for their families.

Cyrus Samson Omara, the Regional Police Commander for North Bukedi said that many families in the region still believe in the old culture where men have greater authority than women saying most men in the district have subjected their women to torture claiming to be exercising their powers.

“We always conduct community policing on gender based violence in village areas of Pallisa but men seem to be stubborn, they say they are exercising their supreme powers and some of the cases reported fail to reach to the courts of laws since married couples tend to forgive each other when they get to the police,” he said.

John Michael Okurut, the Pallisa district LCV chairperson, reiterated that most women when they report their husbands to police, they again chicken out and forgive them before reaching to the courts of law.

He said activists should come up to sensitize and educate the communities to know the dangers of violence and how to control it in their areas saying government alone cannot manage to eradicate violence in communities.

According to Statistics from the Ministry of gender, labor and social development between the period March 30 and April 28, a total of 3,280 cases of violence were reported to police countrywide. This was in addition to 283 cases of violence against children.

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