The Minister of State for Gender, Peace Mutuuzo has said the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety, stress, and hardships to most families and communities which has been associated with increased reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence across the country.
According to a survey undertaken by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in 2020, 58% of respondents reported experiencing greater safety risks and vulnerability to crime and violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 16,242 cases of gender based violence (GBV) were reported to the Uganda Police for the period January-June 2020; 46.8% were cases of domestic violence; 43.2% were cases of defilement and 5.6% were cases of rape.
Speaking to the media ahead of the International Women’s Day on March 2021,Mutuuzo said GBV has undermined girls’ and women’s physical, sexual, and mental health.
“It has had wider implications for the economic and social wellbeing of families and communities. The cases of teenage pregnancy and child marriages in Uganda have increased with the closure of schools and learning institutions at all levels,”she said.
She noted that many children have been exposed to domestic violence, drugs and substance abuse, sexual abuse, loss of loved ones and are now traumatised.
“As we celebrate government of Uganda’s commendable efforts to contain the pandemic and “flatten the curve, we have been constrained in accessing health services which at the same time been over-stretched and is disproportionately impacting on several vulnerable and marginalised groups,”she noted.
She said government will also scale- up the provision of appropriate services to respond and mitigate the effects of violence against children.
“It is time we effectively implemented sexuality education for young people in schools and out of schools. As we celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development recognises the resilience, contribution and strength of Ugandan women in responding to Covid-19,” she said.
She said Uganda has undertaken serious measures which have greatly supported the control of transmission of Covid-19 and service delivery.