Factors that lead to low prosecution of wife battery cases in Lusaka Urban
Jere, McMillan M.
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This study drew its motivation from the need to bring into sharp focus the challenges that lie in the effective prosecution of domestic gender based violence in general and wife battery in particular. This motivation is against a backdrop of many cases of wife battery that do not get prosecuted despite being reported to the police. The study was limited to Lusaka urban district which is considered to be a boiling pot of cultures in Zambia. Being one of the many dimensions of domestic gender based violence, wife battery has proved to be very difficult to prosecute since it hinges on the basic building blocks of society-the family. Very often than not, victims of wife battery opt to withdraw cases of battery after reporting to the police, save for situations where victims see no hope of their partners reforming. This problem has continued to escalate despite the Zambian Government making efforts at various levels to address the scourge.This study employed both descriptive and explanatory study designs and data collected comprised two sources – that is, primary and secondary sources. Structured and semistructured self-administered questionnaires and Interview guides were used as instruments of data collection. Data was analysed using mainly qualitative methods though quantitative was also used to analyse part of the quantifiable data. The study was conducted in Lusaka urban district with a population of 3500 police officers. The 5 selected stations including the prosecutions department and VSU officers had a defined population (N) of 143 officers. who are destined in 14 various police stations. This research used a combination of sampling procedures which included; simple random sampling, stratified, purposive and convenient sampling procedures. The sample size (n) of this research was one hundred and twelve (112) respondents which also included church leaders and victims of wife battery taking shelter at the YWCA shelter. The findings of the study show that prosecution of wife battery cases was being impeded by a number of factors which include victims’ economic dependence, victims’ lack of education, police attitude and victims’ fear of victimisation from relatives. However, the study also discovered that there were also other instances where cases of wife battery were not prosecuted despite victims of wife battery having a source of income or where the perpetrators of wife battery were not in employment. Some respondents also felt there was need for reforms to the legal framework.The study therefore concluded that in as much as there is need to empower women, society should also change the approach when dealing with wife battery cases by exploring other forms of punishment other than imprisonment. While exploring other avenues it is imperative that sensitization and awareness campaigns are intensified