Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mary Kachale, has urged investigators, prosecutors and magistrates in the country not to entertain withdrawal of cases on gender based violence but rather bring culprits to book.
The DPP shot the warning on Friday in Mangochi when she officially opened a two-day training of investigators, prosecutors and magistrates from five Eastern Region Districts of Ntcheu, Balaka, Mangochi, Machinga, and Zomba on fighting violence on women, girls and children.
Kachale said by addressing gender based violence through taking perpetrators to book; the law- enforcing agencies would contribute a lot to preventing death of women and children who account for a high percentage of people at high risk of violence.
“Of great emphasis to the participants in this training is that when you encounter these kinds of cases, remember what criminal law is: crime is against the Republic and not against an individual,” explained Kachale, adding: “Whether an individual withdraws the case due to their dependency on the accused, the perpetrators ought to be held accountable.”
The DPP said the common observation in the rest of the three regions where similar trainings had been conducted was that some investigators still thought of cases of gender based violence as family issues and were best left to be solved at family level.
But she urged the investigators, prosecutors and magistrates to change their mindset and begin to see gender based violence as a societal issue and that of national concern in need of immediate redress.
Kachale challenged the law enforcement agencies to reflect on the vicious circle violence creates where an abused child has high likelihood of becoming an abusive parent or teacher.
“By the end of this workshop, we hope to see our investigators, prosecutors and magistrates making independent decisions without fear or ill will or any consideration; we want to see them do what is best for the victim and not what the victim thinks is best for them,” she said.
According to a National Survey on violence against Children and Young Women conducted by Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Gender with support from developing partners, 60 per cent of women, girls and children in Malawi have experienced violence in one way or another.
The workshop is one of the activities implemented under the European Union funded Chilungamo Project which the DPP hailed for helping it to raise awareness among the law enforcing agencies on how much their jobs contribute to the health of the society and in reducing the rate of infant mortality.