M’mbelwa District Council 2018 Child Protection Management Report has shown that Mzimba South District alone registered 1 680 cases of child abuse.
Specifically, the report indicates that 918 of the cases concerned girls while 762 involved boys.
The abuses include sexual exploitation, child marriages, emotional and physical abuses, neglect, child labour and trafficking.
“For girls, 218 cases of child marriages were reported in 2018, 166 incidences involved sexual abuse, 214 cases were about emotional abuse while 222 cases involved neglect. Sixty-three cases involved physical abuse, 41 child labour and two involved child trafficking.
“For boys, 249 cases of emotional abuses were reported, 133 involved child labour, 222 neglect, 119 physical abuse, 25 child marriages while sexual abuse cases were at 12,” reads part of the report.
The report has further ranked Traditional Authority (T/A) Khosolo’s area as leading in terms of abuse cases having registered 496 cases, followed by T/A Chindi at 323, Mabulabo at 257, Kampingo Sibande at 211, M’mbelwa at 138, Mzikubola at 134 and T/A Mzukuzuku at 120.
Mzimba South district social welfare officer Jim Wotchi said in an interview that the figures are worrisome and called for stakeholders to strengthen efforts in addressing the vices.
“All stakeholders, including the police, child protection workers, chiefs, religious leaders and other organisations should fight cultural beliefs and misconceptions that are promoting these child abuse and gender-based violence at home or in school,” he said.