UGANDA: Cops Lack Skills in Gender-Related Cases, Says Judge

Thursday, July 4, 2013
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The Police lack necessary to handle gender-related issues, Justice David Batema, has said.

Speaking at the female judges' conference at Protea Hotel in Kampala, Batema said member states in the Great Lakes region were asked to develop a police training curriculum on gender and violence so as to enable officers acquire skills in dealing with gender-related cases.

"Gender issues (explaining why gender inequalities exist, how they affect the law and what needs to be changed in terms of attitudes) are treated as a topic rather than a course during the Police training," he said.

Batema observed that perpetrators of gender-based violence pretend to be innocent while at the Police station.

This, he said, leads to victims being referred to their paternal aunts for counseling. Batema observed that when the victims decline to leave the Police station, they are charged with being idle and disorderly.

"We want to train the Police on how to define gender-based violence so that they do not ask silly questions when they receive victims of violence. This will ensure that the Police do not side with the offenders," the judge said.

In 2011, over five million cases of violence against women were reported.

Generally, women are four times more likely to suffer emotional and physical turmoil than men as a result of violence meted out to them, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention and Makerere University's Economic Policy Research Centre.

The study indicates that the Government loses sh36b annually in responding to or addressing cases of domestic violence. It links domestic violence in Uganda to cultural beliefs that portray men as being superior to women.