Community Child Protection Structures Challenged to Protect the Elderly from Witchcraft Accusations
A three day training for Community Victim Support Units (CVSUs) from Mulanje in supporting victims of any sort of violence has started at Luchenza with a call for community child protection structures to consider including protection of the elderly in their activities.
The training has been organized by Youth-Net and Counseling (YONECO) in partnership with Christian Aid with support from Action Aid under Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project.
Mulanje Police Officer-In-Charge Assistant Commissioner, Edwin Magalasi, said following a spate of attacks on the elderly on suspicion that they are practicing witchcraft, there is need to consider protecting the elderly as is the case with children.
“While protecting children, let us not forget our grandparents who are subjected to all sorts of violence on allegations that they are witches or wizards,” said Magalasi.
He said Mulanje has been registering high incidences of violence against the elderly and children on accusations that they practice witchcraft.
Executive Director for Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO) McBain Mkandawire told Zodiak Online that the elderly deserve respect and protection as they are also vulnerable just like children.
“Unfortunately perpetrators of attacks on the elderly have no time to ask their grandparents why they are living long. Some youths cut short their own lives because of their life styles like the food they eat, drug and alcohol abuse and promiscuous conduct,” said Mkandawire.
Mkandawire said the two years of AGYW implementation registered a number of successes but COVID-19 has affected the progress as the number of teenage marriages and pregnancies has increased due to the COVID-19 school holiday.
“We expect vigilant CVSUs after acquiring skills on how to take care of victims of violence during this training,” said Mkandawire.
Youth focal person at Chonde health centre in Mulanje, Tony Kapito, said more and more teenage girls in the district are falling pregnant.
“At Chonde Health Centre, we offer youth friendly health services but the number of minors coming for antenatal services continues increasing. Out of 10 pregnant women coming for antenatal services at the health facility, 4 are aged between 12 and 16,” said Kapito.
On his part, Social Welfare Officer at Mulanje District Social Welfare Office John Taulo urged CVSUs work towards prevention of violence against children and the elderly.
“Let us be proactive and protect children and the elderly from abuses and not be proud to see perpetrators being arrested. If we wait violence to occur and see perpetrators arrested, we should know that we are failing our duties in violence prevention which is our core business,” said Taulo.
In total, 100 volunteers from 10 CVSUs will undergo the training in three phases of three days each that started on Monday.
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