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Monday, 09 October 2017 15:27

Rumphi District registers decrease in sexual crime

Written by  Joel Chirwa

Rumphi, October 09, 2017: Rumphi Police Station has registered a decrease in sexual crimes between January and September from 43 percent last year to 35 percent this year.

Most of the cases involved children below the age of 18 years.

Rumphi Police Officer-In-Charge, Assistant Commissioner Denis Banda confirmed the development in an interview Friday saying the decline resulted from increased collaboration with other stakeholders working in child protection and against gender based violence.

“We have been conducting sensitization meetings which have made people open up and give relevant information to police.

“We have also a good working relationship with organizations that are fighting gender based violence and child abuse,” Banda said.

Rumphi District Social Welfare Officer, Joshua Luhana, whose office has been working closely with the police, said his office has been following up cases and has ensured that justice is done.

The district is among others in the country where cases of early marriages, teenage pregnancies, school dropouts and sexual crimes are high among girls; observers have attributed this situation to increased poverty and harmful cultural practices.

“Many families are poor and in most cases when they have a girl child they force her to get married to get bride price. In that way, they rid off one extra mouth to feed.

“Another factor is culture whereby there are beliefs that when a girl has reached puberty stage, she must either get married or have a sexual activity with a man,” Luhana said.

Luhana attributed the decline in sexual cases in the district to penalties the Rumphi Magistrate Court imposes on those found guilty of having sexual activities with minors.

“The magistrate court has done a good job mostly in the prevention of child abuse cases. In the five cases I have followed lately, the court has handed down stiff penalties to the convicts.

“The court has handed down maximum sentences of either 13 or 14  years IHL [imprisonment with hard labour] which I feel scares away would-be offenders,” Luhana said.


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