The Oshikoto police have recorded 37 domestic violence cases while several others have gone unreported since the beginning of this year.
However, 10 cases were withdrawn at court by the complainants, while 27 were ongoing. None of the cases have been finalised. The complainants are said to be mainly women although there are a few male complainants.
Chief Inspector Stephan Nuuyi of the police public relations department in Oshikoto said although there is a lot of domestic violence in society, the majority of people do not want to report cases especially when the perpetrator is the breadwinner.
Nuuyi said in most cases the female complainants fear to expose the abuse because they do not want to be known to have reported their partners to the police.
“People are abused, but they will not report the cases because they are scared of what society will say about them and also fear their partners being locked up. But we at the police do not allow cases to be withdrawn, we leave it up to the court,” said Nuuyi.
Nuuyi advised domestic violence victims including men to report to the nearest police station or visit the gender-based violence investigation unit, instead of suffering in silence.
Nuuyi said that police officers are also being sensitised on how to handle complainants when they approach the charge station.
“We have already visited a few police stations, and the campaign is ongoing because we believe that people do not visit the charge office for fun, they come because they have problems. Hence we need to ensure that they are attended to and their problems dealt with,” said the chief inspector.
Nuuyi advised parents against forcing their children to stick to their marriage despite the abuse.
He said a forced marriage destroys the victims both physically and mentally, hence he advises families to support domestic abuse victims.
He further explained that the end result of reporting a domestic violence case is not always a jail term, but that at times there is just a need to undergo counselling.
“Sometimes people just need to be counselled. Abuse is not right especially when there are children – they are shattered,” said Nuuyi.
He also advised those who find themselves in abusive relationships to obtain court protection orders against the perpetrators.
Nuuyi said complainants often want the police to unlawfully detain their partners to scare them.
“We want the public to know that it is not right to detain people when there is no case. If you want justice, open a case,” said Nuuyi.
He said that although many people view domestic violence lightly, domestic violence can be anything from physical abuse to emotional abuse, or the use of vulgar language.
He adds that even denying support to children or family or denying a spouse conjugal rights are all forms of abuse.