A local organization working with girls, Shamwari Yemwanasikana (SYS) has slammed the government over the passing of lighter sentences to sexual offenders including community service, a situation they said sends them back to the same communities where they committed the crime.
In a statement, SYS expressed concern that sexual offenders were roaming free in communities due to the lack of stricter sentences.
“We applaud what Msasa is doing in advocating for mandatory sentencing for sexual offenders. Having offenders sentenced to community service defeats our efforts in ending violence against women and girls by 2030 as the next person might believe that he can get away easily without facing jail time,” said SYS.
Shamwari Yemwanasikana highlighted the importance of mandatory sentencing which they said enables punishment of perpetrators through imprisonment.
“We need a system whereby our laws provide for minimum sentences that we are guaranteed that if a person is found guilty for a sexual offense or violation of women and girls he is getting a certain minimum sentence.
“We have repeat offenders of violence against women and girls roaming the streets thus planting doubt of the justice system. Survivors find it hard to co-exist with offenders who have been sentenced to community service in the same community as imprisonment protects societies from acts of violence,” said SYS.
Shamwari Yemwanasikana urged government to consider the psychological well-being of a survivor as the emotional distress that the victim faces does not amount to the community service sentenced to the perpetrator.
This statement comes after a perverted Highlands Primary School Teacher who lured a primary school girl with gifts before making indecent sexual contact was sentenced to 350 hours of community service at Makoni Clinic in Chitungwiza.