Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale has urged investigators, prosecutors and magistrates in the country not to entertain withdrawal of gender-based violence (GBV) cases but rather bring culprits to book.
The DPP shot the warning on Friday in Mangochi when she officially opened a two-day training of investigators, prosecutors and magistrates from five Eastern Region districts of Ntcheu, Balaka, Mangochi, Machinga, and Zomba on fighting violence on women, girls and children.
Kachale said by bringing perpetrators to book, the law-enforcing agencies would contribute a lot to addressing GBV, thereby protecting lives of women and children who account for a high percentage of people at high risk of violence.
“Of great emphasis to the participants in this training is that when you encounter these kinds of cases, remember what criminal law is: crime is against the Republic and not against an individual,” explained Kachale, adding: “Whether an individual withdraws the case due to their dependency on the accused, the perpetrators ought to be held accountable.”
The DPP said the common observation in the country’s three regions, where similar trainings had been conducted, was that some investigators still thought of GBV cases as family issues which were best left to be solved at family level.
But she urged the investigators, prosecutors and magistrates to change their mindset and begin to see GBV as a societal issue that needs immediate redress.
A national survey on Violence Against Children and Young Women conducted by the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare with support from developing partners, showed that 60 percent of women, girls and children in Malawi have experienced violence in one way or another.
The workshop is one of the activities implemented under the European Union-funded Chilungamo Project. n