Many inmates imprisoned for aggravated assault

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-Perpetrators of assault with aggravating circumstances form the highest population of inmates in Namibian prisons, followed by rape offenders.

This information is contained in statistics gathered from the Namibian Correctional Services last month and presented by Dr Veronica Theron, the technical advisor in the Office of the First Lady, during the #BreakFree anti-violence engagement initiative at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) on Tuesday.

According to the statistics, inmates in for murder were the third highest, followed by robbery with aggravating circumstances at 4th, and culpable homicide at 5th.

Theron said that to better understand the underlying causes from a perspective of the perpetrators, they did observation work since 2015 with perpetrators in prison, where they listened to the stories of 45 hard-core criminals.

“Most if not all of them had issues of fatherlessness, single parent family, lack of love, lack of identity and low self-esteem, amongst others.”

Theron said early signs had been detected but there wasn’t enough intervention.
“Many perpetrators narrated how teachers realised that this boy has anger problems or teachers called them names – that they will never amount to anything,” revealed Theron.

Some were abused as children, while some came from dysfunctional homes or had engaged in excessive substance abuse or were abused as children.

What also emerged during the observations was that perpetrators had lack of conflict resolution skills, excessive jealousy, and negative gender norms

“A lot would do a lot of victim blaming, by saying, ‘but I got her in bed with my friend’, or ‘she squandered my money.’ There is a clear lack of conflict resolution,” he said.

Theron added that many of the perpetrators struggle with childhood and multiple past unresolved trauma, which at times resulted that victims turned perpetrators.

In line with this observation work, the Office of the First Lady-Monica Geingos and the Namibian Correctional Facility Commissioner General Raphael Tuhafeni Hamunyela are expected to launch a report on gender-based violence titled ‘Problematic perpetrator perspective on GBV’ during the 16 days of activism.

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