The Child Justice Court in Mzimba has registered 25 cases of child abuse between April and May.
First grade magistrate Lillian Munthali said this in Mpherembe on Monday at a sensitisation meeting organised by Oxfam on how to combat sexual and gender-based violence in schools.
According to Munthali, defilement and lack of child maintenance are the most widespread.
“The main cause of these cases is divorce. Fathers fail to support their children when they remarry. Most of the complainants are women,” she said.
According to Section 23 of the Constitution, every child has a right to reasonable parental care.
Munthali underscored the need to empower women to demand child support from their ex-husband.
“We are now using mobile courts to reach out to the rural areas where these cases are common,” said the magistrate.
Girls as young as 13 lamented experiencing defilement or being forced to marry after marriage breakdowns.
The event comprised inspirational talk by role models, including chief director in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works Mary Shawa and female soldiers Dr Gladys Ngondo and Lieutenant Vitumbuko Mbale
In an interview, Oxfam Malawi country director John Makina asked the courts to impose stiffer punishment on teachers who defile or impregnate learners.
Oxfam has injected K6.5 billion in a project envisaged to protect 60 000 children in Dowa, Mzimba, Balaka and Phalombe districts.