What happens to Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse in Zimbabwe: Examining the Outcome of Cases heard at the Magistrate’s Court in Harare, Zimbabwe from 2013 to 2015
A recent publication by the Research and Advocacy Unit, an IANGEL partner organization in Zimbabwe, examines the outcome of cases heard at the Harare Magistrate’s Court from 2013 to 2015. The report, available here, looks at the number of cases at the Harare Magistrate’s Court, nature of offenses, as well as the verdict in the cases. According to the RAU, the aim of their report is to determine the outcome of cases heard in the Court, and to obtain a profile of the complainants and the offenders.
Despite the array of strong policy frameworks and institutions that deal with sexual violence in Zimbabwe, statistics from the Zimbabwe Republic Police indicate that female rape and sexual violence is on the rise. There has also been an increase in the number of sexual violence cases reported in the newspapers in Zimbabwe.
The court data, examined by the RAU in their report, reveals:
- Rape is the predominant problem of sexual abuse in the justice system followed by indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault
- The victims are overwhelmingly female while the perpetrators are overwhelmingly male
- The conviction rate is low, but much higher when the victim is a minor
- Sentences are generally very severe and appropriate to the circumstances
More research needs to be done to understand how sexual abuse is handled in the criminal justice system, including why prosecutions succeed or fail, to better serve those that seek assistance.
The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), an IANGEL partner organization in Zimbabwe, is an independent non-governmental organisation that fosters citizen agency through high quality research and advocacy.
- Click here to visit the RAU website and learn more about their work.
- Click here to read the RAU’s report
- Click here to learn about another RAU report on the issue of Child Marriage in Zimbabwe