Parliament Speaker defends protection of women against violence

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Carolina Cerqueira, pointed out on Monday, in Luanda, the use of education to change mindsets on the role and place of women in society and education for equality and gender equity.

Carolina Cerqueira, who was speaking at the opening of a conference on violence against women and human rights, said that the empowerment of women should occur through the integration of the topic in the school programmes of the various educational systems and the promotion of a straight, open and inclusive dialogue among all sections of the society on violence against women, the advantages of women´s participation in decision making and mechanisms to stop acts of violence.

Carolina Cerqueira points out as risk factors for violence against women, their low level of education and although they are 52% of the Angolan population, 47% of Angolan women did not have access to school or have low education.

“Exposure to violence in childhood, complacent attitude towards violence, the lack of a culture of denunciation, and lack of preparation of the police and judicial bodies to deal with complaints are other risk factors for domestic violence among us”, she stressed.

Carolina Cerqueira said that this situation exposes the increase in poverty and inequality against women and children evident in the lack of health facilities and security, school dropout and low access to basic health services such as drinking water, vaccines, identity card, legal advice, employment or loans, by depriving them of adequate protection and at risk of sexual violence and abuse.

To Carolina Cerqueira, the victims must deserve humanitarian support and permanent help for effective participation in rebuilding their lives and in the process of social inclusion, which means ensuring women’s equal access to information, job opportunities, training, loans, and financial aid mechanisms to achieve stability and community integration, to help solve their families’ problems.

“It is unavoidable, as a basic principle of modern societies, the equality between men and women, de iure and de facto, of participation in the economy, in politics, and in the various sectors of the country’s life, on equal terms, where they can feel fully realized as human beings, without discrimination of any kind, or barriers imposed by violence. It is necessary to review the criminal framework and verify whether the crime of domestic violence actually exists as a type of offence, since the new penal code makes no reference to it and the law against domestic violence is not properly specific“, she added.

In her opinion, it is necessary to look further into actions to increase the effectiveness of the authorities’ actions, such as the increase of preventive imprisonment (remand) and effective imprisonment for aggressors of domestic violence, as well as to consider the creation of a multidisciplinary team responsible for improving the quality and communication of information between the various public entities.

He stressed that domestic violence also impacts the economic life of the victims and the environment in which they are inserted, causing the loss of the economy of the country due to the deterioration of the victims’ mental health and productive capacity, reducing the women´s human capital and making them economically dependent on the offender, continuing the vicious cycle of violence.

Meanwhile, Carolina Cerqueira said that, it will be possible to make a more objective assessment of the figures, the number of occurrences, causes and measures to fight violence against women especially, and against all human rights, in general.

In Angola, by legislative initiative of the National Assembly, Law No. 25/11 was approved, on the legal framework for the prevention of domestic violence, protection and assistance to victims.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)