Mangochi — Despite efforts by authorities to sensitise communities to report sexual assaults, most individuals in Mangochi still do not report such cases to authorities for purposes of prosecution.
National Programmes Coordinator for Malawi Sexual Reproductive Health Alliance, Hastings Saka told Malawi News Agency Thursday during the training of 20 youth leaders in the district on reporting of cases on sexual assault.
Saka explained that cases of sexual assault were still not adequately reported to relevant authorities in the district. He said the situation led to perpetrators not being prosecuted.
The Sexual Reproductive Health coordinator attributed the numerous unreported cases of sexual assaults to communication gap between the youth and duty bearers, hence the need for the training to equip them with necessary knowledge and skills.
According to Saka, the programme also aimed at ensuring that young people are empowered with knowledge for them to be able to claim their rights.
"This programme will reach out to relevant authorities from where most sexual abuses take place. We visit schools, communities and markets among other places.
"In November, we had a similar training with magistrates, police's victim support unit, social welfare, health workers and different non-governmental organisations so that they can work together in reducing sexual assaults," Saka said.
He said the trained youth are expected to sensitise their fellow youth in communities on how to report and what to do when faced with issues concerning sexual abuse.
Patuma Wasiri, a youth leader from Tithandizane Youth Club told Mana the training would help them to follow proper channels when reporting sexual assaults.
However, Wasiri expressed concern that perpetrators of sexual assault were not adequately punished when reported to police, hence the resentment among communities to come forth with such cases.
The program, which is funded by Amplified Change, targets the youth aged between 10 and 19 from youth clubs in traditional authorities Mponda, Nankumba, Chimwala, Jalasi and other areas in the district.
The project will run for 18 months. It is also implemented in two traditional authorities in Chikwawa District.