Role of the police in access to justice for sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against diverse women in Zimbabwe

Authors: Munatsi Shoko, Kerry Vermaak and Annika Rudman

ISSN: 1996-2193
Affiliations: PhD Candidate, MA Population Studies (UKZN), Lecturer, Nehanda Centre for Gender and Culture Studies, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo; PhD Public Health, Lecturer, Population Studies Unit, University of KwaZulu-Natal; LLB (Lund), LLM (Lund) PhD (Gothenburg), Professor of International Law, Department of Public Law, University of Stellenbosch
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 33 Issue 1, 2022, p. 123 – 138


Bound by the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe (“Zimbabwean Constitution”),  as informed by regional human rights law, Zimbabwean police should facilitate  access to justice for everyone. This article interrogates the lived realities of  diverse women in terms of how the police in Zimbabwe respond when they  report cases of sexual and gender-based violence (“SGBV”). Using qualitative  data this article also interrogates institutional practices questioning the  alignment of laws and actions to the Zimbabwean Constitution. The findings  show that the reluctance of the police to efficiently and appropriately  engage with SGBV cases reported by diverse women is encouraged by the  homophobic context in which these take place. The ability of the police to  provide justice to diverse women who experience SGBV can be strengthened  by repealing the laws that criminalise same-sex relations and sodomy and by  implementing regional human rights law as interpreted through Resolution  275 of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.