Bringing abusers to justice for child victims

  • Date: 20 February 2020

In Tanzania our teams work with children who have been forced to survive on the streets – however they can. Many end up getting into trouble with the police. Even more of them regularly suffer abuse and violence at the hands of other children or adults that prey on these vulnerable young people. Whether they are involved in petty crimes themselves or the victims of crime – they deserve the same legal support as anyone else.

For this reason we have employed six legal officers to work directly with children on the streets.

Whether they are in court, rounded up at the police station of want to seek justice for a crime committed against them, we make sure they have that vital legal help. The scheme is already having a great impact and we recently helped a young boy successfully see the man who violently raped him sent to prison.

The victim was just 12 and had been living on the streets with other children in Mbeya when a man approached and started assaulting the boys. They ran away but later the same night the man found them again. He demanded money from the children but when they didn’t have any to give he targeted the 12-year-old, telling the others to leave and ordering him to undress. The boy tried to get away but the man brutally raped him, leaving him in agony and dumped by bushes near the airport. The next morning the other children saw that their friend could hardly walk and guessing what had happened contacted our outreach team.

We made sure the boy got medical help and over the following months supported him to identify his attacker and we made sure the man was arrested. The evidence presented in court was overwhelming, with medical experts giving testimony and the accused being identified by several children.

The judge was left in no doubt about what had happened and sentenced the rapist to spend 30 years in prison.

Not only does this send a clear message to others that abuse street children without fear of ramifications but seeing the abuser brought to justice is crucial to the recovery of the victims and the rebuilding of their self-esteem.