Effectiveness of the victim support unit in resolving conflict among gender-based violence victims.

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Kamaila, Chikumbe Clara
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The University of Zambia
The Victim Support Unit (VSU) was established in the police stations to address the gender-based violence (GBV). This study assessed if the Victim Support Unit were effective in addressing GBV. To achieve this, the study established if the Victim Support Unit was GBV survivors friendly. It also examined the services offered at the Victim Support Unit, explored the challenges encountered by the Victim Support Unit and also identified the best strategies of addressing these challenges. The sample size consisted of 22 participants. This was because most victims of GBV knew other GBV victims and they helped the researcher to identify them. The victims were also sampled using stratified random sampling where the researcher would be able to get their contacts. The Victim Support Unit was purposively sampled from the police stations. The data was collected using the interview guide and the focus group discussion (FGD) guide. The data analysis was done by classifying the data in the thematic areas of study. The study showed that the Victim Support Unit officers were not effective in carrying out their duties because they lacked proper training on the new laws on how to deal with gender-based violence and lacked offices to operate from. The Victim Support Unit environment was not conducive for the GBV victims. The challenges facing the Victim Support Unit were lack of skills among officers, delays in reporting of cases by victims and lack of safe houses for the victims of gender-based violence. The major recommendations of the study are that the Victim Support Unit police officers should be well trained in issues pertaining to gender-based violence. The other major recommendation is that the police should develop confidentiality in the gender-based violence cases that they receive from the victims and the police should be given enough resources to enable them to handle gender-based violence cases. An increase in the budgetary allocation by the government and deployment of more police officers to the Victim Support Unit is also critical to providing a conducive environment for GBV cases.
Zambia Police Service. Victim Support Unit. , Women--Violence against--Zambia--Cases. , Girls--Violence against--Zambia--Cases. , Family violence--Zambia--Cases.