The Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) on the Copperbelt has lamented the increasing cases of incest involving children in the region.
YWCA in partnership with Police is currently handling four cases of incest reported in Kitwe last month in which biological fathers have been sexually abusing their children.
Police in Kitwe two weeks ago arrested and detained a 38 year old man of Kakolo Farming Block for allegedly impregnating his 15-year old daughter.
This is a case in which the suspect, whose identity has been withheld, is alleged to have been sexually abusing his biological daughters aged between 12 and 15.
Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Danny Mwale reported that the suspect used to forcibly have carnal knowledge with the girls in their house at night when everyone including his wife was sleeping.
YWCA Copperbelt Regional Coordinator Sharon Mambo said the fight against child sexual abuse is becoming increasingly difficult because children are being abused by people who are supposed to protect them.
Ms. Mambo said it is tough for the Police and NGOs alone to address child sexual abuse when it is happening within families.
She urged families to be alert in safeguarding children in order to curtail all forms of child abuse.
“The cases of incest are on the rise, for example in the last one month as YWCA through our partners Zambia Police we have been receiving children who being defiled by their biological fathers, uncles. It is a sad development because these are the people who are entrusted to take care of the children and protect them. So having a high rate of children being defiled by their own biological parents is so worrying because even if we say we put in measures, how do we protect the children because they are in the custody of these very perpetrators and even to know that this child is undergoing such abuse it will take a firm relative or a neighbour who will come out and report such cases,” Ms. Mambo said.
“Otherwise a lot of children as at now are being abused and nobody is speaking out within the families. I think families also need to be cautioned, when one partner, especially the mother leaves a home under the circumstances of divorce or any other, I think other family members should take keen interest and see how they are going to protect the children. Leaving the children in custody of one parent especially the male parent I think has proven not to be a safe place. So there is no way we can even say no he is the biological father, I think where we are now let’s ensure we protect the girl child. If it’s under divorce, let us protect the girl child not until they reach an age where they can report in case of these issues,” she said.
“And also let stakeholders come on board and ensure we sensitize people on these things. Especially the church lets ensure that children have information on abuse especially sexual abuse. A lot of children are dying silently; they are being abused in those homes. We are handling four cases all reported in the month of May 2022 all of them involving biological parents. It is very worrying and as Young Women Christian Association, Zambia Police, ZCCP we are not adequate to deal with these issues single handedly we need stakeholders to come on board. Families please can we go back to our roots, as Africans my brother’s child is my daughter is my son. So why are we abandoning this responsibility because of economic hardships? I think we are endangering the lives of the children. We need to protect the children,” Ms. Mambo said.