One-Stop-Centers are facilities created to provide integrated services to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV). The essence of the one stop center is to provide services at one place to avoid survivors moving from one place to another to access the service providers. Instead, all the service providers are located in one place. The centers coordinate survivor centered support from health workers, police, social workers and legal personnel.
Gender Based Violence presents a serious concern. There was an increase in the number of GBV cases reported to the Zambia Police Service from 2012 to 2020, and although cases decreased slightly from 2020 to 2021 from 26,370 to 20,540 respectively; there was a further increase again in 2022 up to 24,290.
To respond to these concerns and ensure provision of comprehensive care and support to survivors, especially children and women, the Phase II of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the United Nations Joint Programme on GBV (GRZ-UN JP GBV) facilitated the provision of a coordinated, sustainable and comprehensive package of response services and prevention mechanisms at national and sub-national level that addresses Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Zambia. The interventions under the Joint Programme, supported through the generous contributions from the Governments of Sweden and Ireland, focused on the well-being of child victims and witnesses of GBV, thereby empowering service providers with age-appropriate child friendly skills to support child survivors.
“We have been handling several cases of children that are physically and sexually abused and denied resources by their parents or caregivers. Whenever these children were brought to the health facility, it would take time to be able to interact with them as they were uncomfortable to speak to a total strange,” says Mukubesa Lutangu, a psychosocial counselor who works at the One Stop Centre at St Francis Hospital in Katete District, Before the training of the one stop center personnel and equipping of the facilities with child friendly equipment, assisting children that sought services at the centers was not an easy task.
One of the five One Stop Centers that have been transformed into child friendly spaces with support from UNICEF through the GRZ-UN Joint programme on GBV Phase II.
In strengthening the capacity of frontline officers that interact and interview child victims and survivors at the One-Stop-Centres (Social worker , police officer and health personnel), the programme supported the Judiciary to develop and roll-out Guidelines on the Minimum Standards for Child Victims and Witnesses in the Justice Process, a reference tool for service providers to that enables them to promote the protection and uphold the rights of child victims and witnesses as well as enable them to handle young clients in a child friendly manner.
“The One-Stop Child friendly space at St Francis Central Hospital in Katete has really improved service delivery for GBV child victims and survivors brought to the facility. The One-Stop-Center has a dedicated corner with child friendly toys that children play with during sessions. This makes children more comfortable to receive medical and psychosocial services. It is now easier for our staff to interact with the children because of the friendly environment,” states Doctor Kumwenda – Acting Medical Superintendent at St Francis Central Hospital in Katete District, Eastern Province.
In 2022, a total of 634 child victims and witnesses of GBV were handled by key institutions in the 15 districts across the country where the joint programme has been implemented.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNICEF Zambia.