By Bethsaida Msowoya:
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has intensified efforts with the aim of closing in on gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrators.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Mary Kachale, said this in Mzuzu City Monday, when she engaged Northern Region-based prosecutors and magistrates.
“We want to share experiences and knowledge on how best to solve problems. One of the problems prosecutors face is that some GBV victims demand that cases be withdrawn. When that request is denied, they [victims] feel that they are being harassed, which is not the case.
“When we refuse to withdraw a case, we face challenges where the victim becomes hostile to the prosecution and, at times, accuses the prosecution of harassing the victim. We are also discussing issues such as how best we can protect witnesses who develop cold feet when asked to testify,” Kachale said.
One of the participants, Godfrey Nyirenda, said GBV was one of the challenges facing the Judiciary; hence, updates on how to handle cases related to the vice were key to registering success.
Northern Region Police Prosecutor, Betty Msowoya, said some GBV victims are influenced by their relatives to withdraw cases.
According to a Malawi Government national survey on Violence against Children and Young Women, which was conducted through the Ministry of Gender, 60 percent of women, girls and children in Malawi have experienced violence in one way or another.
ODPP organised the training through the European Union-funded Chilungamo Project.