Over 1 000 domestic violence cases in six months

By Rosalia David

THE Namibian Domestic Violence Court registered 1 139 domestic violence applications countrywide from April to September this year, while 2 167 were recorded from April last year to March this year.

According to statistics provided by judiciary spokesperson Ockert Jansen, the court also granted a total of 795 interim orders in the time period, while 291 final orders were granted in respect of domestic violence. 

Statistics provided further showed that at least 188 of domestic violence applications were withdrawn during the same time.

During the period of April 2019 to March 2020, 1 801 of interim orders were granted by the court, however, only 829 final orders were granted in respect of domestic violence while 396 applications were withdrawn.

In view of the growing number of Gender Base Violence (GBV) related deaths, Confidente reported that 7 127 cases of GBV were lodged in 2019 countrywide but 2 595 were withdrawn, while in 2018 out of 7 157, 2 606 cases were withdrawn.

This translates to at least one in every three victims of GBV who reported perpetrators at different police stations countrywide later going back and withdrawing those cases before the law could take its course.

The majority of case withdrawals were mostly recorded in Windhoek, where 1 563 cases were withdrawn out of the 3 689 that were reported, followed by Oshakati with 374 withdrawals out of 625 reported cases.

Trailing behind is Walvis Bay where 172 of 384 were withdrawn and Outapi with 108 out of 384 withdrawn.

In response to the statistics reported by Confidente earlier this year, Head of the Criminal Investigations Directorate Commissioner Nelius Becker said the continuous withdrawal of these cases not only undermined police work as possible interventions are blocked but at times resulted in fatalities.

He further cautioned that violence, especially domestic violence is a cycle that will repeat itself unless the victim stands their ground and exercises their human rights by reporting these violations and for the police to pursue such cases until they are heard in a court of law.

“They do not need to fear the criminal justice system because they are the victims and only they know what happened to them, provided they keep on telling the truth from the time of report up till the trial phase,” Becker said.

Women’s rights activist Rosa Namises was also quoted saying that withdrawal of cases is evident that women continue to protect their husbands who beat, cheat and abuse them which is becoming an illness in many households.

“It is not just women, but… our girls. They are being introduced to a culture of violence, abuse and rape which they are sort of expected to accept,” she said.