FACT Zimbabwe and partners (Forum for African Women Educationalists Zimbabwe Chapter and Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe) under the Action AID Zimbabwe led Towards Resilient Communities with Health and Safety for All (TORCHES) project launched the research report entitled ‘Assessment of the availability, acceptability, and affordability of inclusive and responsive Gender Based Violence (GBV) essential services in Zimbabwe’ at a ceremony held in Harare Zimbabwe. The research was conducted during the Awareness phase of the TORCHES project in 2022, with the view of highlighting key gaps and opportunities in GBV services that could be addressed in the support phase of TORCHES and future similar projects implementation. Considering FACT Zimbabwe’s work, the research is of paramount importance as it informs policy and legislation, raises awareness, improves service provision, guides prevention strategies, and enables data-driven decision-making. By conducting such research on GBV essential services, we can work towards creating a safer and more equitable society for all.
Key Research Findings
- At the local level, counseling services were highlighted as one of the main services available and are being offered by ward coordinators under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Health services were also highlighted as available and being offered at local clinics. From the research, respondents also noted the availability of police bases as a service that is locally available. However, although the police bases were available respondents raised a concern on the issue of distance as the main barrier to their access to the police bases. The services offered were said to be affordable as some services are being offered freely. Respondents stated that there were good practices and noted that services were offered on time; referral services were offered and trained staff to handle cases.
- Participants cited the following as major gaps or shortcomings in service provision: Lack of resources, lack of services at the local level, high cost of services, lack of trained staff to handle PWD, lack of disability-friendly infrastructure at public services, and that PWD is likely to be unaware of services available. Service providers cited that most staff are not trained in sign language highlighting a concern, and this makes it difficult to communicate with survivors with hearing impairments. Service providers noted that there is a lack of training in handling PWD. They also cited a lack of resources as a major hindrance in the quality of provision offered.
- Establish more services at the local level such as medical and police centers to enhance accessibility and availability.
- The government to avail sufficient resources to the departments that provide essential GBV services to enhance the quality of service.
- The government health service providers to provide health services freely to all GBV survivors. Currently, its health service providers are providing free health services to survivors of sexual abuse and not survivors of other forms of abuse.
- The following infrastructural adaptations need to be done at public spaces such as hospitals and police stations: construction of rails for easy access, ramps and pathways for wheelchair users, and wider doorways for wheelchair users.
- There is a need for service provider regular interaction to enhance provider-client follow-ups on GBV survivors.
- Capacitate local health facilities to assist survivors of GBV with all medical requirements.
- Establishment of one-stop centers and circuit courts to enhance the accessibility of services.
Link to the Full report: ActionAid Research Report on GBV Essential Services.pdf