LAWS regarding domestic issues such as violence against women and marital rape exist but are never enforced due to the perception that such issues should remain within the parameters of the family, NCD metropolitan police commander Supt Fred Yakasa said.
Supt Yakasa said under traditional customs, violence against one’s spouse or child was seen as a “disciplinary and corrective measure within the family”.
He was speaking during the United Nations “Say no to violence against women and children” campaign last Thursday.
Supt Yakasa said these views were passed on for generations and were fuelled by the bride price practice, which makes men to think that a woman was now their property to do with as they pleased.
He said this was why a proper body to deal with such cases and provide more awareness was needed.
Supt Yakasa said police began receiving formal complaints of domestic violence in the 1990s, which caused the force to implement laws to address them.
He said since then, the police had been handling these cases and arrests had been made after complaints
were lodged, Supt Yakasa said his men had been enforcing the law by arresting the perpetrators of domestic violence, especially violence against women.
He said the Police Department, as the law enforcing agency, had come up with policies and procedures to deal with all types of violence against women.
Last year, as part of the crime prevention and community policing concept, a “Victims of crime” desk was set up at the Boroko police station.
Supt Yakasa said police had been taught to deal with wife bashing as a criminal offence in their training programmes.
Supt Yakasa said police were working on policing issues involving violence against women, and supplementing their work with activities such as reviewing the Family and Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU), and conducting proactive public awareness on responsibilities of sections within the police force.
He said police personnel who beat their spouses were not exempted from the domestic violence laws.
Supt Yakasa challenged the judiciary and other authorities to set up a separate court to deal with violence against women and family and sexual violence cases.