Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, has seen a rise in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) since the ease of restrictions, under state three regulations, on June 2.
There were reports of 158 cases by mid-June, which is significantly higher than those recorded during the months of lockdown.
City police chief Abraham Kanime, told the press that cases are currently on the rise, especially with the sale of alcohol becoming permissible after the lockdown.
In contrast, the city registered a reduction in GBV during the three months of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Windhoek City Police and the Namibian Police attribute the decrease to the closure of alcohol sales in the country during the period.
Police chief Kanime said that restrictions on the sale of alcohol during lockdown played an important role in the decrease.
“A contributing factor could be a total closure of alcohol in April,” he said.
HumAngle reports that state of emergency restrictions came into effect on March 17 and also included the ban of alcohol.
The police have recorded a total of 1, 050 GBV cases since January, and added that violent cases, including assault, rape, robbery and murder typically involve alcohol influence.
This figure indicates an average of 175 cases per month for the first half of 2020.
GBV cases decreased from 209 in January to 111 in May, the police chief said.
The months with the lowest number of cases are April (114) and May (111). This is low compared to February, which saw 239 cases.
According to 2019 data, the capital city registered on average 200 cases a month during the same period.
Victims seeking counselling
Regain Trust, a women and children’s organisation has recorded triple the usual number of GBV cases during the lockdown months.
Victims usually call the organisation seeking counselling.
The organisation said it recorded an increase, from 10 to 36 domestic violence cases per month, for March and April.
Senior counsellor at the Trust, Constance Muparadzi, said counselling cases were on the rise as victims were “forced to stay in unsafe environments, spending most of the lockdown with the perpetrators of abuse.
“Other service providers, such as the police, have not been as forthcoming with their services.
“A lot of people have lost confidence in the police when reporting such matters. Many police officers treat it as if it is a private matter which should be resolved at home,’ gender activists said.
Police chief Kanime, however, insisted that there has not been a decrease in access to the police during the lockdown.
The Namibian newspaper reported that two cases of rape were recently reported to the police.
In the first incident, a six-year-old was allegedly raped at Oshomughudi village in the Ohangwena region.
The suspect found the victim chasing donkeys with other children close to his house and allegedly lured her away into the bushes, where he raped her.
The suspect is known to the police but has not been arrested yet. Police investigations continue.
The second incident was of a man (33) at Utokota village in the Kavango East region, who allegedly entered the room of a woman (43) in the traditional hut where she was sleeping and raped her.
The suspect was arrested and appeared at the Rundu Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
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