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Tanzania, 3 February 2015: German First Lady meets survivors of violence at Temeke Police Gender Children's Desk

© UNICEF Tanzania/2015/Bisin
The German First Lady, Daniela Schadt, being interviewed by a UNICEF young reporter at the Police Gender and Children’s Desk in Temeke, Dar es Salaam.

 
3 February 2015, DAR ES SALAAM, United Republic of Tanzania – Visiting German First Lady Daniela Schadt had a compelling interaction with survivors of violence at the Chang’ombe Police Gender and Children’s Desk.

Schadt and her partner, German President Joachim Gauck, are on a three-day visit to Tanzania and today visited Temeke district’s Police Gender and Children’s Desk. A patron of UNICEF Germany, Schadt heard the stories of survivors of violence.

"I am very impressed by the life-changing work you are doing for the women and children of Temeke," Schadt was quoted telling the police officers at the Gender and Children’s Desk.

With support from the United Nations (UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women), the Tanzania Police Force is committed to improving its response to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and victims of child abuse. At the heart of the Police’s response to GBV and child abuse are the Gender and Children’s Desks – specialist units in each police station staffed by trained officers able to handle such cases. In August 2011, the Inspector General for Police committed to establishing Desks in all police stations in Tanzania. The vision of the Tanzania Police Force is to ensure that every child, woman or man that reports to a Desk is treated with dignity and sensitivity and that every case is handled effectively and efficiently. The Police Partner Coordination Group on GBV and child abuse, convened by the Police and comprised of development partners, NGO partners and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, is committed to support the Police to realise this vision.

Since the establishment of Gender and Children’s Desks, the number of reported cases has increased significantly in Chang’ombe. The Desk officers conduct awareness raising sessions in schools, in community meetings and in bars. But, most notably, word of mouth from people who have been assisted by the Desk encourages victims and their families to come and ask for help. The Chang’ombe Desk, which was renovated and equipped with UNICEF assistance, provided support to 269 victims of gender based violence and child abuse in 2014 compared to just 71 cases in 2009.

‘Ending violence is everyone’s business. All violence against children can be prevented’, said Birgithe Lund-Henriksen, UNICEF Tanzania’s Chief of Child Protection. ‘Promoting and providing services for children and their families that identify, offer help, support and care, as well as mechanisms to report incidences of violence, is one of the key strategies UNICEF is implementing to prevent and respond to violence. Services help children cope with their situation, and also break the cycle of abuse and reduce further harm. We commend the Police for its dedication to ending violence in communities by ensuring that there are fully equipped Desks in every police station across the country. UNICEF is proud to be partnering with the Police in realizing this vision’.

The United Nations has supported the Tanzania Police Force to develop a 3 year action plan (2013 – 2016) which focuses on improving the infrastructure ofthe Police Gender and Children’s Desks, enhancing the skills and knowledge of staff working at the desks to effectively handle cases of GBV and Child Abuse, and raising awareness of the public on how and where to report cases. The action plan sets out clear objectives, activities, and targets for enhancing Gender and Children’s Desks for the next three years. The Tanzania Police Force selected six priority regions to start with in implementing the action plan (Dodoma, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mara, Mbeya, and Dar es Salaam).

The Violence Against Children Survey, launched by the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children and UNICEF in 2011, highlights the specific vulnerability of children to physical and sexual violence in Tanzania: nearly 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys experience sexual violence and over 70 per cent of both girls and boys experience physical violence before the age of 18 years. However, most survivors never tell anyone about their experience and relatively few cases are reported to the Police.
 

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For further information, including interviews or a detailed list of activities in Tanzania, please contact:

Sandra Bisin, UNICEF Tanzania, Mobile: +255 787 600079, sbisin@unicef.org

Jacqueline Namfua, UNICEF Tanzania, Mobile: +255 754 711073, jnamfua@unicef.org

 

 
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