Police officers, medics trained in collection, preservation of forensic evidence for use in gender violence cases

A total of 247 police officers and medical personnel have kicked off a three-day training in collection and preservation of forensic evidence to be used in prosecuting gender-based violence cases.

The groups of people to undergo the training include desk officers of sexual and children offences department, Child and Family Protection Unit desk officers, probation officers and Resident State Attorneys.

The 2020 annual police crime report indicated that 14134 cases of defilement were reported in the same year compared to 13,613 a year before giving an increase of 3.8% and 1280 of these victims were children below the age of eight.

Speaking on Tuesday at the start of the training, the commissioner for administration at CID headquarters in Kibuli, Isaac Oketcho who represented the IGP Ochola said in order to decisively investigate gender-based violence cases, detectives ought to put themselves in the shoes of the victims or their relatives.

“Just imagine if an eight-year-old child is defiled but is your daughter or relative. How do you feel if such a thing happens? Such a feeling should always come while investigating these cases and consequently, you will do all you can to ensure you achieve successful convictions for suspects,” Oketcho said.

He noted that the training has come in at the right time as police has increased its efforts in dealing with gender-based violence cases that are also on the rise.

“These kinds of trainings are crucial at equipping officers with the necessary skills that will help us in achieving convictions for suspects.  It would be befitting if I investigate a case and the suspect is handed a 40-year imprisonment sentence for defilement. That way, other would be offenders would fear committing a similar crime basing on the conviction of the earlier person.”

According to ASP Lilian Mutesi Doris from the Police Forensics Division, collecting and preserving forensic evidence is very crucial in achieving convictions for suspects in all cases.

She noted that in cases where offences have been reported and investigation, there has been notable gaps in handling  of exhibits wit emphasis on forensic evidence.

“Despite the various roles the different stakeholders play, there is no link in provision of services and since these services are scattered, there is need to train all the  service providers together on investigations, collection and preservation of forensic evidence by applying a survivor or trauma centred approach as well as coordination in management of gender based violence cases,” ASP Mutesi said.

“There is a skills and attitude gap thus creating a need for training  of key stakeholders that manage child related offences.”

The chief of child protection program for UNICEF in Uganda Vedasto Nsanzugwanko said something needs to be done to change the increasing  trend of cases of violence against children because it is worrying.

“In Uganda, just like it is globally, there is still need for efforts to protect child rights because the 3.8% increase as indicated in the police report is bad. As UNICEF, we are committed to working with the police, Ministry of Health and the private sector to bring these numbers down,” Nsazugwanko said.

He said there is need to have well established systems for legislation, gather evidence and ensure proper budget allocation all aimed at ensuring the protection of child rights.

The training will see participation from detectives from Kampala, Kamuli, Kasese, Gulu, Arua and Moroto with 42 participants from each district.

 

 

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