DTA calls for creation of safe houses for GBV victims

24 Feb 2016 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 24 FEB (NAMPA) - DTA of Namibia vice-president Jennifer van den Heever has proposed that Government directly fund the creation of a “safe house” in every region to accommodate gender-based violence (GBV) victims.
She made these remarks in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday.
Van den Heever, who is also a Member of Parliament (MP), said such safe houses would keep victims who would otherwise have no choice but to return to their abusers, safe.
“This will not only prevent a loss of lives, but will also ensure that more victims have the confidence to come forward and report their abusers, knowing that they will not end up having to return to the home of their abuser,” she said.
The DTA MP added that in most cases, victims of domestic violence end up in hospital or dead resulting from a long-standing pattern of domestic abuse stretching over years.
She noted that building and directly funding the upkeep of safe houses across the country will ensure that victims have a way out of the cycle of abuse.
Van den Heever told the National Assembly that a total of 10 142 cases of GBV were registered with the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) between January 2014 and January 2015.
She also noted that Namibia is a signatory to many international instruments relating to the rights of women and children. However, given the low rate at which domestic violence cases are successfully prosecuted, it is evident that laws alone do not serve as sufficient deterrence.
The MP therefore called on the promulgation of a law that protects whistle-blowers and provides mechanisms and avenues for onlookers and passers-by to confidently and anonymously report incidences of domestic abuse.
“I believe that creating an avenue where whistle-blowers can report incidences of domestic abuse anonymously and confidentially, which will then be followed up by the relevant law enforcement agencies,” she added.
Van den Heever said she is aware that GBV cases also affect men and that men also fall victim to abusers.
She however noted that significantly more women and children are affected by the scourge of GBV, and thus more focus is placed on how domestic violence affects women and children.
“It is high time that we as Namibians restore the dignity of our women,” she said.