WINDHOEK - Law enforcement agencies have recorded a total of 611 cases of domestic violence during the past three months with females being the majority of complainants.
In the 312 domestic incidents, victims refused to lay charges against their abusive partners for fear of losing their relationships once their partners were arrested or jailed.
Females comprise the majority of 211 victims who refused to open criminal cases against their abusive lovers.
Last month, a 24-year-old woman was murdered at her workplace in Windhoek West by her jilted ex-boyfriend who turned the murder weapon onto himself. The boyfriend was a police officer.
In the same week, three police officers were arrested and appeared in court for assaulting their partners in separate incidents.
“We are trying to come up with a strategy on how to deal with this. It is now a problem because it’s a lot. Domestic violence is physical and mental abuse,” remarked Windhoek City Police acting chief, Senior Superintended Nathaniel Nendongo.
Nendongo, who shared the statistics with New Era, said the statistics were from the Namibian Police and City Police.
He stated that the police attended to these cases mostly during month-end and alcohol was often involved. In other instances, Nendongo stated violence occurred because the husband did not bring his salary home on payday.
“Very few people report cases to protect their relationships. Their relationships are also important therefore they should stop the violence. They can’t stay like that (fighting) - they should find ways to stabilise their relationships. They should go to the [Police] Gender-Based Violence Investigation Unit (GBVIU) for assistance,” he mentioned.
Director of Gender Equality and Research Victor Shipoh, in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare said 611 cases reported in three months was a very high number.
“It is too high and as a ministry we are trying to make sure we give information and create awareness on how to address problems in relationships,” he said.
“And those who become victims should go report cases to relevant authorities, not necessarily the police but the police is the entry of all cases because they open a docket for prosecution.”
“When people have problems in relationships, they can go to any person of their choice such as traditional leaders, church leaders, counsellors and social workers,” stated Shipoh.
He added that they have community liaison officers in all the 14 regions and one of their jobs is to create awareness, educate the community about their rights, what to do and where to go when their rights are violated.
The ministry also has radio and televison programmes were it educates people on dangers of any violence happening and not just Gender-based violence but also trafficking of persons, which is a problem in society.
On victims refusing to lay charges, Shipoh stated that any person who is abusive should be reported because if the victim does not lay charges nothing will be done.
“The violence becomes worse even at the stage of killing. And it is when you find people saying the victim use to be in a violent relationship but they don’t report or they withdraw cases,” Shipoh added.