By YVONNE HAIP
OUT-of-court settlement cases have increased in Western Highlands province and victims, especially women and children were no longer having the right to choose the process of justice.
Police in the province also revealed that this was because men have taken over the victims’ place and spoke on their behalf without considering other factors.
According to Sgt Susan Mondia of the community policing unit, men also took the lead in negotiating for compensation, leaving the female victims totally out to speak their mind.
She said most of these cases were in relation to sexual violence against women, especially rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence.
She said as a result from this practice, cases were withdrawn or striken out from the court because of the failure in appearance of state witnesses including the victims.
Sgt Mondia claimed the Government’s law was tough enough, but in this issue, it seemed that community laws were overruling the Government law.
She said currently, domestic violence was appalling and prevailing in the province, and ranged from simple assault to murder, but there were still a big number of unreported cases.
She said the traditional mentality of male dominance existed in all mindsets and even if the victim had a right to choose, it was being undermined and settled out of court.
Sgt Mondia challenged all victims to take all matters to court and let justice speak for itself.