“I hardly relate gender based violence to HIV, I look at the cases I come across as mere cases and follow the book, not thinking beyond that. Today there is a lot I have learnt that has changed the way I should look at GBV cases!”….
That was the expression of David Baxter Bakibinga, the President of Uganda Association of Prosecutors, and senior state Attorney of Masaka district. Many more of the prosecutors and State Attorneys who attended the training, shared the same sentiments.
The training workshop has been conducted by UGANET with funds from the TASO Global fund project. This training of state Attorneys and Prosecutors was intended to strengthen the prosecution of GBV crimes through exploring strategies of addressing barriers impeding justice.
GBV increases vulnerability to HIV, and more often the two are referred to as twin epidemics.
The deputy DPP, Charles Elem who opened the training, expressed his deep concern about the many sexual violence cases that are committed and are clogging the system, yet they are one of the easiest offenses to prove. He commends this kind of skills development urging that there should be more sensitization against such violations of human rights, and also urged that girls should be encouraged that it is normal to report sexual assault.
There is also need to replicate these GBV/HIV awareness sessions to reach more prosecutors and state attorneys for accelerated access to justice by victims and survivors.
The Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2016 reported that women and men age 15-49 have ever experienced sexual violence. It also indicated that women in Uganda are more than twice as likely to experience sexual violence as compared to the men. 5% of women aged 15-19 are less likely to report recent experience of sexual violence than 13-16% of older women.
Annually, the government of Uganda spends shs.77 billion; Individuals shs.21 billion while the police, health care providers and courts of laws spend shs.56 billion to address gender based violence.
These statistics underpin the urgency of responding to Gender based violence at all levels, National Institutions working very closely with Communities.
A long term relationship was commissioned between UGANET and the DPP’s office awaiting the signing of the memorandum of understanding.