A study on child sexual abuse mitigation strategies in Zimbabwean rural communities: a case of Muringazuva ward 8, Muzarabani district
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The study examined the Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) mitigation strategies in Muringazuva ward 8 in Muzarabani District of Mashonaland Central. This study was motivated by the noted increase of CSA reported cases at St Albert’s Community Home Based Care (CHBC) where the researcher previously worked. Identification of the current CSA mitigation strategies, the degree of their success and the factors that undermine their efficacy in their implementation in Muringazuva ward 8 constituted the objectives of this study. The study employed the descriptive research design while a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative research methodology was done to solicit data from respondents. Data was implored through focus group discussions, semi-structured key informant interviews and questionnaires from a sample of 39 respondents who are into Child Protection Programming (20 females and 19 males) and three key informants, one from the Department of Social Services, one from St Albert’s CHBC and one from Muzarabani ZRP station Victim Friendly Unit and a focus group discussion constituting of 5 traditional leaders and 5 religious leaders. Four sampling techniques namely simple random, stage, purposive and convenience sampling techniques for selecting respondents in Muringazuva ward 8. Secondary sources of data such as journals, textbooks and case files and trends records from key informants were also used in this study. Findings were presented in the form of tables, pie charts and graphs while analysis of findings was done through thematic content analysis. The study findings reveal that there are currently eleven CSA mitigation strategies in Muringazuva Ward namely awareness campaigns, formation and training of peer groups in CSA mitigation, making victim referrals to service providers, tip offs, funding victims of CSA with bus fares, medical examination fees, Victim Friendly Unit/place of safety, empowerment of child headed families with livelihoods, getting rid of young children at traditional ceremonies held during the night, suggestion boxes and following up cases CSA victims. It was also found however that of these, ten were reckoned as successful as they managed to score above half in the strategy rating scale except for suggestion boxes and tip offs which scored below half were 20.5% (n=8) of the respondents rated this strategy at 1, 30.8% (n=12) rated it at 2, 23.1% (n=9) rated it at 3, 15.4% (n=6) rated it at 4, and 10.3% (n=4) rated it at 5. Culture, poverty, family structure, mythical misconceptions, inaccessibility of child protection information, manipulation of untrained personnel in victim offender management and lack of resources are the challenges being faced in CSA mitigation in Muringazuva Ward 8. The study therefore concluded that ignorance has contributed to perpetration of CSA, manipulation of untrained personnel compromise CSA mitigation efforts and poverty expose children to CSA. The researcher therefore recommended inclusive sensitization of community members on CSA and reporting procedures, empowerment of children at risk of being victims to CSA and manipulation of trained personnel in Victim Offender Management. The researcher also recommended further research to focus on assessment of CSA incidence and impact in rural community which will aid to justification for a call for action and needs assessment in policy area determination and to manipulate CSA victims as respondents as they will provide experience based responses.