The Anti-Domestic Violence Council (AVC) has joined hands with the Government of Zimbabwe in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and said the lockdown pronounced by President E.D Mnangagwa is necessary to win the battle against this pandemic.
“The Anti-Domestic Violence Council would like to take this opportunity to encourage families to utilise this lockdown period to bond and reconnect. The lockdown is necessary but not an excuse to perpetrate domestic violence. We acknowledge that this is a time of great uncertainty and stress for many and yet this must not be used as an excuse for domestic violence. As we all prepare to cope with COVID-19 and the measures we will have to adopt to conquer it, our thoughts are with those adult and child victims living with abusive perpetrators, where home is not a place of safety, but a place where they will face a potential increase in violence and psychological abuse as well as even greater isolation,” AVC said in a statement.
The organisation said it was grateful for the dedicated focus by Government and partners to ensure funding is made available for those frontline specialists who offer domestic violence services so that they can continue their lifesaving work and play a role as part of public contingency planning.
While abuse is likely to increase as families become more isolated, AVC called for an increase in public messaging about the criminal nature of domestic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour .
AVC said that domestic violence happens in every community and occurs across socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and educational backgrounds – anyone can be a victim. It noted that domestic violence also happens in upmarket, quiet and “safe” neighbourhoods. In fact, abuse thrives on privacy and the idea that it is a personal or family matter makes it more complicated.
“Most importantly, we must remember that according to Section 52 of our constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen has a right to personal security and bodily integrity. That freedom from abuse or fear is a right to every victim and child who witnesses domestic violence. This is why, as caring community members, we must do more. It is our responsibility to learn more so we can do more to help.
“The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development and Partners continue to offer Gender-Based Violence Services through One Stop Centres, Police Victim Friendly Units and Safe Shelters throughout the Country. Let us protect our loved ones from COVID-19, Let us protect our loved ones from Domestic Violence.”