Defilement of children in Chongwe and Lusaka: A study of the issues involved in reporting and prosecution of child defeilement cases

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Phiri, Emma
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The University of Zambia
Defilement is a social problem which affects all members of society. Statistics indicate that there is an increase in the number of defilement cases reported but very few defilement cases are prosecuted. While there are a number of sexual offences against children, defilement is the most prominent. This study critically examined the problems involved in reporting and prosecution of defilement cases among boys and girls. The research designs used in this study were both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data was collected through administrative records and unpublished reports. Qualitative data was collected through Observations, Focus Group Discussions (FDGs) for parents and/or guardians and In-depth Interviews for the victims and Key Informants. Data was analysed through tables and graphs for quantitative while qualitative data was thematically analysed. The findings of this study revealed that sexually abused children encountered devastating experiences resulting in negative impacts such as teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), psychological effects as well as educational effects. Factors that prevented immediate reporting of defilement/sodomy cases by either the victims or parents and/or guardians were also explored. The Zambia Police-Victim Support Unit (ZP-VSU) handled reports of defilement/sodomy cases; and that they faced challenges in handling the cases such as lack of forensic equipment, inadequate transport, limited office accommodation and few doctors to examine the victims. The study also found out that not all defilement/sodomy cases reported were prosecuted because of insufficient evidence, corroboration, lack of fast-track courts and lack of training in forensic evidence for doctors. The study recommends Ministry of Gender and Child Development (MGCD) in collaboration with ZP-VSU should extend sensitisation and awareness programmes throughout the country on the importance of reporting and prosecution of defilement/sodomy cases. The government of Zambia through the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication should build more police posts especially in rural areas to encourage more reporting. Ministry of Health should train Medical doctors in forensic evidence to ensure certain guidelines and formalities are strictly followed. The Ministry of Justice should speed up the rolling out of fast-track courts throughout the country in order for the cases to be disposed of quickly
Child abuse--Law and legislation--Zambia , Child sexual abuse-Zambia