ARC with support from PSI recently conducted training on SGBV management for Victim Friendly Unit Officers. The 2 days ( April 29-30) training comprised of officers from 3 provinces Mashonaland Central, East and West. External facilitators from the Department of Forensic Sciences, Social Welfare and NPA were also present and presented in their respective fields.
The training is held as part of ARC’s other core function which is to provide continuous learning for medical, nursing professionals and other stakeholders in the management of rape. These ongoing trainings are aimed at broadening skills and awareness of issues surrounding the care and support of rape survivors.
During the course of the training VFU officers were grouped and asked to discuss and present on the magnitude of circumstances in their respective provinces.
Common issues that arose from the provinces disclosed that most perpetrators are well known to the survivor ie; close family and neighbours. Women and girls are most at risk due to the living setups of compounds in most of these areas. Concerns were also raised on the issue of children who were being perpetrated on their way to and from school.
Religious beliefs were amongst the most common circumstances whereby some practices insinuate that if you have sex with minors you can gain wealth, fathers also raping their daughters for wealth and gold. Some self-acclaimed prophets were also said to be taking advantage of vulnerable women seeking religious assistance.
The VFU officers have also begun targeted crime awareness campaigns and liaising with community leaders on how best they can protect their communities.