Sexual abuse incidences are on the rise in Machinga, with figures showing that between July and September this year, the cases increased by 54 percent.
Machinga Police Station Community Policing Coordinator, Roster Milanzi said during a child protection technical working group meeting held on Monday that the period under review, 40 sexual offences were registered against 26 during the same period last year.
He attributed the rise to the many awareness meetings the law enforcers have conducted to encourage people to report such issues.
“During the Covid-19 school break, we followed up cases and, in the processes, we were urging communities to report any abuse case to police,” Milanzi explained.
On his part, Machinga District assistant youth officer, Sharon Kumwembe reported that through Youth Week of Action, debate and comprehensive sexual education, her office has managed to withdraw 184 girls from early marriages.
“Some 122 girls who were withdrawn from early marriages have gone back to school, but we also have some reunion of marriages,” she said.
Lucia Nkhoma from Youth Impact, a local youth organization in Machinga also reported that her organisation has administered 43 sexual cases since January this year.
“About 32 of the cases were gender-based violence cases of which six were referred to court for hearing and judgement,” she said.
Apart from holding campaigns to end child marriages and teenage pregnancies, Machinga District Council is in the process of developing a strategic plan to deal the two vices.