By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK A joint investigative survey aimed at finding the root causes of violence against women and children in Namibia was yesterday launched in the capital. This was done in view of the continuing forms of violence stubbornly committed against women and children in the Namibian society. A tri-partnership, formed by the Ministry of Safety and Security, the Women’s Action for Development (WAD), and the University of Namibia would through this project seek to go right down to the root cause of violent behaviour of men towards women and girls. This research, which is being sponsored by the Bristo-Myers Squibb Foundation to the tune of N$50 000, would be conducted by clinical psychologists, social workers and researchers from the University of Namibia and would take two and a half months to complete. As recommended by the Ministry of Safety and Security, researchers will penetrate selected prisons in the regions, namely, Hardap, Oluno, Swakopmund, and Walvis Bay where serious offenders of violence and rape are kept. The perpetrators will undergo personal interviews by the research team. However, research ethics would be the guide in this study, as inmates would not be forced to participate in the study. Psychology lecturer at Unam who also forms part of the researchers Kazuvire Veii says the study will concentrate on among other things, the psychosocial profile of the perpetrators with the application of the social learning as well as the feministic perspective theories, psychoticism (mental vulnerability) and neuroticism (mental steep). This research that is likely to unearth the actual underlying causes of violent crimes against women and children will as well provide recommendations for remedial action. Commissioning NGO representative, Executive Director of WAD Veronica de Klerk, during the launch of this groundbreaking project pointed out that the unfortunate scenario in Namibia has hitherto been that when unscrupulous men commit a violent deed, it is splashed in the media in a sensational manner, women protest, petitions are presented to the relevant authorities, they call for immediate action and stiffer sentences – and it ends there. Yet, a feeling of insecurity among women and girls remains. According to De Klerk, a tri-partnership which will facilitate research of such credible nature will greatly contribute towards the pool of knowledge in Namibia and have far-reaching positive consequences in the Namibian society, through the enormous public education that is bound to follow. Minister of Safety and Security Peter Tsheehama expressed gratitude and commended WAD and Unam for venturing into such a project that would have a countrywide positive effect. “The nation is in dire need of knowing the core, the root cause of crime committed against women and girls. You should proceed with this research study,” he recommended. The ministry through its case management programmes has been trying to find effective ways of making inmates better citizens by the time their sentences end. The data from the study would help the ministry with designing effective programmes. As such, the minister urged all key role players to nurture the research. The first copy of the final report which will hopefully be available during May this year, will be presented to President Pohamba as well as the line ministries, civil society organisations, youth movements, educational institutions, churches, etc.
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