People now know that domestic violence is a crime: A success story
José Mário Machango has been a police officer since December 2005. His willingness to help others motivated him to participate in extra training on issues related to HIV/AIDS, to youth in conflict with the law and to domestic violence.
He began work in the Help Centres for Women and Children victims of domestic violence in 2006 and in 2008 took his first course facilitated by Oxfam Canada partner Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) for police officers assisting women and children victims of domestic violence.
“From then on I participated in training courses once a month. In the training sessions, which are called legal consultations, we received a lot of material, including brochures and posters, and the appropriate laws which defend women’s rights. The material is written in simple language without very technical terms. We learned how to channel the people who appeared at the Help Centre through the system to present their problems. The people were satisfied with our services.”
Demand for help from the Help Centres increased as that satisfaction spread by word of mouth and as written material was distributed throughout the community. “People now know what domestic violence is and know that it is a crime,” says José.
Traditionally, José says police counselled men instead of handling domestic violence as a criminal matter. “The police accepted a woman’s request for help, but it was mainly to scare the husband into not becoming more violent,” he says.
“But it didn’t work. The husband was violent again because he knew that nothing would happen if he again committed the crime. But now everything has changed. When the Help Centres receive a case they channel it through the system seriously.”
José says he has confidence in his work, is respected in the community and regards himself as a role model. His work in this field has inspired him to apply to study social work so that he can help others even more.