Evaluating the communication strategies employed by the Victim Support Unit of the Zambia Police Service in disseminating information on the dangers of Gender Based Violence to communities in Zambia: A case study of Ktuba Community of Chibombo District in Central Province of Zambia
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Gender violence threatens and shapes every woman's life even if she herself is not a victim. You see this in the choices women make: where they choose or are allowed to work, what events they feel safe attending, and where they walk on the street (Bunch,1992). Gender Based Violence is one of the most devastating social problems that most women in the world today are facing. Research shows that at least one in every three women in the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or at least suffered some form of abuse in their lives. The rural women and those women who are socially excluded face a greater exposure to GBV as they lack the knowledge about their rights as women as well as the knowledge about what facilities and solutions are available for them when they are confronted with the GBV problem. This thesis evaluates the communication strategies and channels that the Zambia Police Service through the Victim Support Unit is using to sensitise members of the rural communities in Zambia, on the dangers of Gender Based Violence. The main argument in this thesis is that although the Zambian Government has made a lot of commitment in the fight against GBV, such as the setting up of the Police Victim Support Unit, the enactment of the Anti Gender Based Violence Act and many other commitments, most people for whom these intentions are made are not aware of them. The thesis is based on field work conducted in Katuba constituency of Central Province between July, 2012 and January 2013. The core approach of the field work was a mixed method approach. Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, the study set out to investigate what the local community members in Katuba knew about the Victim Support Unit of the Zambia Police Service and Gender based violence. The results revealed that majority, 62%, of the community members in Katuba reported that there was no police station in the area and as such they did not know anything about the police Victim Support Unit. They further explained that the VSU had never been to their area to educate them about GBV and the Anti GBV ACT. The study also shows that access to services such as VSU can be very costly in rural areas as the victims are asked to pay for transport for the officers. From the discussions with the community members, it is clear that the Zambia Police through the Victim Support Unit needs to embark on more rigorous campaigns in rural communities like Katuba if the fight against Gender Based Violence is to be won in Zambia.