Some child rights activists are calling for the creation of a sex offenders' register for deterring potential offenders as cases of child abuse continue to escalate in Zimbabwe.
Child Line, an organisation fighting for the protection of children’s rights in Zimbabwe, says cases of child abuse are rising in the country with more than 12 500 cases reported at their offices last year alone.
Child Line director Stella Motsi says 65 percent of these cases were sexual abuse with most perpetrators being close relatives or friends.
"We receive over 50,000 calls monthly at our offices of children reporting abuse and this is very disturbing but we are glad that minors are now speaking out and reaching out to our organisation and others to help deal with different forms of violations with most perpetrators being close relatives,”says Motsi.
Motsi adds that 65% of cases reported are sexual abuse matters followed by neglect and then emotional abuse.
This comes at a time when President Robert Mugabe at his birthday celebration in Masvingo, a few weeks ago, castigated men who perpetrate these abuses saying he was clueless why abusers would target children as young as three years old.
Mosti says her organisation is working with other government departments under the multi-sexual protocol on abuse which outlines what steps those that suffer abuse should take.
Under the protocol, the first step for those sexually abused should take should be to go to their nearest hospital so that they receive urgent medical treatment to protect them against contracting such virus as HIV or getting pregnant.
"The next step is to go to the police and they will redirect those abused to relevant organisations for counselling and other services,” says Motsi.
Motsi says her organisation has put in place a child helpline and children facing abuse should feel free to call on 116 which is a free toll helpline.