From Where I Stand: “I now have the knowledge on how to collect evidence that is relevant to prosecution and getting justice for survivors”
Beatrice Akello is a Child and Family Protection Officer (CFPO) based in Amuria District, East Kyoga Region, Uganda. Beatrice is one of 30 police officers who attended a training in Soroti on how to collect, handle and submit forensics evidence pertaining to SGBV crimes.
I have attended many trainings on gender based violence (GBV) supported by UN Women since I came to Amuria District, but this training is unique because it is the first of its kind that I [as a CFPO] am introduced to scene of crime management, as a Child and Family Protection Officer I am usually not involved in scene of crime management, so I am learning new things that are relevant to my work. Common cases of violence in Amuria are physical violence whereby women are physically assaulted by their intimate partners, and we have cases of neglect (failure to provide necessities for children).
This training is important because I interact directly with victims, and I now have the knowledge on how to collect evidence that is relevant to prosecution and getting justice for them. I realise there have been things I have been leaving out for example evidence that can be found in the clothing of victims and the fact they often bathe before we can get that evidence. I also realise that visiting the scene where the crime took place is important. I have learnt that my office needs to work very closely with the scene of crime officers, we should not have divisions between the offices, we have to be a team.
On 14 September 2022, a workshop for police in the East Kyoga region took place at Akello Hotel in Soroti. This workshop comes as UN Women Uganda and Austrian Development Cooperation Uganda (ADC Uganda) partnered with the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory (DGAL) to disseminate guidelines for handling and submission of forensic exhibits in SGBV cases. This workshop provided practical examples and took a participatory, interactive approach. The purpose of the guidelines and accompanying workshop is to strengthen the systems in the chain of GBV criminal investigations. This training will improve the quality of laboratory findings and results by strengthening systems in the chain of SGBV in criminal investigations.