The eradication of sexual offences against the girl child requires a comprehensive approach which addresses factors such as poverty, lack of education and harmful cultural practices, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said this during in an interview.
She said other factors that should be addressed include provision of comprehensive education, awareness campaigns as well as community empowerment programmes to complement the legal framework.
“The Government will continue to develop and implement supportive interventions such as establishing one stop centres to enhance access to justice and reinforce safe shelters to support survivors of abuse,” she said.
She said her Ministry will collaborate with other Ministries and key stakeholders to strengthen child protection systems and encourage the reporting of cases of sexual abuse to the police for swift action against perpetrators.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa applauded the raising of the legal age of consent to 18 years in Zimbabwe as a critical tool in the fight against sexual violation of minors, child marriages and gender-based violence.
President Mnangagwa promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 2 of 2024 which raised the age of sexual consent to 18 years earlier this month with violators facing up to 10 years in prison.
“It serves as a resolute message that such abhorrent offences will not be tolerated, and those who perpetrate them will face the full wrath of the law,” she said.
“This legislative milestone underscores our unwavering dedication to safeguarding the rights and well-being of children and young persons in our society.” – New Ziana.