Access to Justice: Responding to SGBV

effective-drivers-and-agents-for-response-to-sexual-gender-based-violenceSexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is still a driving factor in communities of Northern Uganda. According to a recent survey conducted in 14 district of Acholi, Lango and Teso (April 2016 arch Diakona) Both men and women indicated that GBV is a problem in their communities. On average 95.4% of all the respondents from 14 districts indicated that GBV is a big problem. The findings agree with UDHS reports (2006&2011) which indicated that GBV is a serious problem in the country with serious health consequences for victims especially with respect to the reproductive health of women, physical, emotional and mental health of their children. Drivers of GBV included alcoholism on top list, Famine/food shortage, and property sharing /ownership and communication breakdown between spouses respectively.  Men are still top most perpetrators than female.

With IDF funding, GWED-G programs engaged right holders and Duty Bearers (male & female) to proactively prevent, protect, and provide restorative services to survivors of GBV. The project also addressed negative influence and discriminatory cultural and traditional attitudes and harmful practices towards women and girls in society.  The project Strengthen networks, forums and group advocacy addressing GBV- Eg working with the women councillors. Strengthen advocacy for improved legal frameworks and resources to combat gender based violence and Strengthen community based care and support mechanisms for GBV prevention and response (support survivors and those at risk of SGBV – most vulnerable and poor women, men, girls and boys).

In Unyama, Patiko, Paicho, and Awach sub-counties where the project has been active, GWED-G deployed duty bearers who are trained as community response agents called rapid actions teams (RATs). They are selected from community’s people who were previously teachers or paraprofessionals and willing to respond and first track issues of gender based violence with intention to combat and end violence against women within villages and parishes. With support from IDF 28 duty bearers were trained and facilitated with bicycles. This is to support urgent reporting of cases in case someone is raped, defiled or battered.  In these communities women were battered and their marriages breaks during harvest as men rob household food reducing on household income and livelihoods baskets, young girls were detained to work in gardens instead of allowing them go to schools. The roles of duty bearers have been crucial in accessing communities and handling many cases others directly and others through referrals. One duty bearers reached out to 20-30people monthly and approximately 10cases of SGBV is referred by one duty bearers quarterly.  In one year the duty bearers managed to refer 243 cases of SGBV for legal redress, medical, psychosocial supports and shelter/safety. And they managed to handle directly 190 cases but managed 171 cases successfully and completely closed. These were possible with the skills gained through various trainings and also bicycles distributed.

One duty bearer  Ms Lanyero Grace who is also a woman councillor for Oding Village Angaya Parish in Unyama sub-county managed to urgently take care of a 13years old girl  who  was defiled during a market day on November  6th, 2015 from Oding Village. The mother was negligent and never reported it to the police, upon hearing this; Counsellor III took charge of the situation and assisted the girl. The case was reported to the police and the girl received medical treatment and examinations. The perpetrator was arrested and is awaiting sentencing. The young girl received all the treatment and protection require for a sexual gender base violence survivor.

A 12years old girl was raped by the father, family members didn’t know what was going on, but the girl went directly to one duty bearers who reported the case to GWED-G response officers, and later together they arrested the father still in detention.

In Paicho sub-county a girl kipped from Pader District was hidden in a home in Paicho a home of a marital man, she was deceived to be working as house help, according to her birth certificate she was 16years. The CDO and LCIII of Paicho sub-county who are part of the duty bearers of their constituencies helped in mobilising support for the arrest of this perpetrator/kidnapper. Finally with the help of GWED-G inclusive, the person is arrested in Gulu Prison awaiting final ruling by the Judge.

GWED-G has supported the Gulu district local government in promoting the GBV ordinance and frequently sits at the GBV working groups. Through support from IDF GED-G frequently conducted women conference where duty bearers are brought to dialogue with women groups and local leaders to peruse better strategy to combat GBV and promotes a zero tolerance to SGBV in northern Uganda. Under this partnership with IDF, 53 cases of perpetrators are in police custody as a result of sexual and gender based violence.