An Examination of the factors that prevent Sexual abuse Cases From being Effectively prosecuted in Zambia
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This dissertation considers the factors which prevent sexual abuse cases from being effectively prosecuted. In approaching the subject matter of the research, the research starts by examining the extent of sexual abuse in Zambia and looks at what causes this scourge. The research goes on to look at how society views this scourge and what has been done by the government and other stakeholders to deal with this problem. The dissertation thereafter examines the factors which prevent the scourge from being effectively prosecuted and therefore eliminated. The dissertation, through research and interviews found that there are a lot of problems and hiccups within the Criminal Justice System which prevent a lot of sexual abuse cases from reaching the courts. According to the findings of this research, the Courts which are a formal and last structure in which offences of sexual abuse are adjudicated have a number of problems such as technical procedures, delays and language, which have the effect of discouraging a lot of victims from approaching them. Other problems which were identified as contributing to inefficiency in the fight against sexual abuse include low awareness levels amongst people of their rights, early marriages, withdrawal of cases by victims, geographical inaccessibility and the lack of resources and infrastructure on the part of the Victim Support Unit to deal with all the cases that arise. Accordingly, unless all these problems are ironed out, there is no hope of sexual abuse cases being effectively dealt with. As such, this paper makes recommendations to the effect that there is need for the adoption of a different approach to the fight against sexual abuse. The laws and the protective institutions in their form cannot adequately deal with sexual abuse cases. The dissertation has called for the enactment of laws which are victim-friendly but which at the same time do not jeopardize the protection that the law offers to the accused person. Such laws will deal with those factors within the court structure which intimidate victims from seeking recourse to the courts of law. The law moreover should be used as an instrument of proscribing those acts such as the withdrawal of cases and early marriages which are retrogressive to the fight against sexual abuse. Finally, the essay has called for public awareness on the subject. In this regard, there is need to educate people about the evils of sexual abuse and enlighten them on the importance of reporting these offences. Their rights and the institutions to which they can report violations must be told to them.
- Law