Source: The Monitor
At least 200 girls run away from their parents and guardians' home due to domestic violence, an Action Aid official has said. Ms Irene Ahimbisibwe, an Action Aid's psychosocial support officer, said they record more than 500 cases of girls and women who fall victim to domestic violence countrywide weekly.

She said in most cases, the girls abandon their homes and go to live at their gender-based violence centres, resettlement centres, take to the streets or shift to relatives' homes.

Ms Ahimbisibwe was addressing journalists at the sidelines of police's exhibition of strategies that can be used to curb violence against girls and women at Railway grounds in Kampala on Wednesday. The event was part of activities organised by police in preparation for the 60th Kigali Internal Conference Declaration (KCID) on combating domestic violence against women and girls that will be hosted in Kampala from March 6 to 7. Ms Ahimbisibwe said domestic violence was rampant in Bwaise, Katanga and Kimumbasa all suburbs of Kampala. Outside the city, Mubende, Lira, Gulu and Nebbi are some of the districts where domestic violence is high.

Mr Andrew Kaweesi, the police spokesperson, on Tuesday cited Wakiso, Mukono, Kampala, Busoga and northern Uganda among regions with high levels of domestic violence. Ms Hadijjah Namutebi, a senior police officer in community policing department, agreed with Ms Ahimbisibwe, saying most of the children they have interacted with from streets abandoned their homes because of torture. She said police were registering several cases of girls and women subjected to torture by their fathers, husbands and other male relatives.

"We receive several cases of girls who have been impregnated or raped by relatives and this has made many children leave homes for streets," Ms Namutebi said.

A report by police released on Tuesday shows an increase in crimes against girls and women. In 2010, 109 women died as a result of domestic violence whereas 163 lost their life to gender-based violence in 2016. Thirty six cases of women trafficking were recorded in 2011 rising to 375 cases in 2016. Girl child kidnap increased from 72 cases in 2011 to 572 in 2016.

To address gender-based violence, Mr Martin Okoth, the deputy Inspector General of Police, said police was going to build a one- stop centre from which victims of domestic violence would be treated, counseled and detectives would be assigned to every case immediately.

By Joseph Kato

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