PA 19-4-0723 Use of social media to provide awareness about medical and social service aid to victims of gender-based violence in zambia

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Abstract

Gender-based violence (GBV) continues to be on the rise in Zambia. A 3 year review shows a sharp increase in the number of cases recorded i.e. from 15,153 cases in 2014 to 18 540 in 2016 for a population of approximately 15 million, a 22% rise in the number of cases. The Government of Republic of Zambia (GRZ) has responded in various ways to this rising challenge. They have since launched two victim-friendly fast track courts to specifically expedite GBV cases. This move has branded Zambia as a pioneering nation in preventing GBV.

In one reviewed study, it was identified that lack of public awareness is one of many challenges in addressing GBV in Zambia. The study concluded that low-cost interventions may improve care for victims of violence by providing pre- and post-assault information on social services available to them.

This was a follow-up observational study to demostrate that social media may be one useful tool used as a low-cost intervention to improve victim awareness about available medical and social service aid.

In a country where 64.5% of households now have access to a mobile phone, it was revealed that 63% of Zambians found online, spent their time on social networking sites. Social media has over-taken traditional platforms as the number one source of information for Zambians. Majority of those surveyed obtained news on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) for example, from Facebook and Whatsapp.

This study demonstrated that social media is one important platform in Zambia which locals rely upon to obtain information, and particularly information on GBV happening in local communities.

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