Police in Mangochi say child sexual abuse cases are on the rise in the district despite continuous efforts to curb the cases.
The rise has been partly attributed to harmful cultural practices such as rituals to boost business gain.
In an interview, Mangochi police deputy publicist Sub-Inspector Amina Daudi said for the past nine months the station has registered 57 cases compared to 35 cases which were on recorded in the same period in 2019.
She said: “The findings attribute the increase to some cultural practices and beliefs. The figures have increased despite efforts by the Police and other stakeholders like Social Welfare, Yoneco and World Vision which are aimed at keeping the girl child safe from all kinds of abuse.
“Covid-19 has also been identified as another accelerator of defilement cases as children were not in school for the previous months,” she said.
Daudi further added that out of the 57 cases, 50 have been completed in court and the perpetrators are serving jail terms while 7 cases are still ongoing.
She singled out denial/refusal of witnesses to testify in court as one of the challenges in pursuit of justice in court. As a result, perpetrators are acquitted due to lack of concrete evidence.
Daudi also noted that most of the perpetrators are close relatives especially stepfathers.
The police station has, however, thanked stakeholders and members of the public for their support through tips and alerts which have made police work easier.The Police have expressed commitment to continue with measures in order to reduce the cases in the district and ensure safety, security as well as full enjoyment of rights by young girls.