Vice President Inonge Wina has urged legal practitioners to vigorously get involved in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Speaking in a speech read for her by Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula at a workshop organized by the National Legal Aid Clinic for Women and attended by over 40 lawyers, Mrs Wina said GBV is a vice that neither knows profession nor status.
She said it is unfortunate that the 2013/2014 demographic survey indicates that 43 per of women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence while 47 percent of married women aged between 15 and 47 have experienced physical, sexual and emotional violence from their current or most recent husbands or partners.
Mrs Wina further said that it is also disturbing to note that only 17 percent of the women surveyed reported having experienced physical violence at some point in their lives whereas only 45 percent of the women who experienced physical or sexual violence sought help.
She said the survey shows that nine percent of the women who experienced violence have neither sought help nor told anyone.
The Vice President has since called for conceited efforts in the fight against GBV stating that Zambia has also one of the early child and forced marriage prevalence rates in the world and is ranked number 20 globally.
“Hence, one of the objectives of this meeting is to raise awareness on the provisions of the GBV Act and encourage the legal practitioners to take up cases relating to the vice, particularly for the vulnerable in society who cannot afford to pay legal fees”, she said
And speaking at the same occasion, Deputy Minister of Gender and Child Development Joseph Lungu said it is progressive that lawyers are getting involved in the fight against GBV as they have been excluded from community initiatives due to negative public perception about the profession.
And Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) President George Chisanga challenged lawyers to consider handling probono cases and help the poor in society.
In 2011 government enacted the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act number one of 2011 aimed at providing comprehensive protection to victims of GBV.
This is in addition to the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.