Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
Understaffing of the Units
Many of the units were found to be understaffed. Some of them had two officers to receive complaints, carry out investigations and take care of children. This makes it difficult for the units to run efficiently. Sometimes, the same unit investigates cases of domestic violence as well as family conflicts. While the police guidelines require that cases involving juveniles should be investigated and completed within 1 month, this has not been achieved in many of the cases due to understaffing. Some units especially those in the upcountry remain closed when officers are in the field investigating cases.
Lack of Facilities for Witness Protection
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the various units is how to protect witnesses to the crimes against juveniles. One of the heads of the unit who preferred anonymity mentioned that in cases of defilement, once victims return to their parents, there is an attempt by the perpetrators to negotiate with the parents of the victim and pay them off. This makes it difficult for the prosecution to pursue the case if the witnesses become complacent and fail to testify. Another problem that was identified is the possibility of victims disappearing or being killed by the perpetrators of the crime. This has happened in some instances in Fort Portal where a victim of defilement was eventually murdered. When the police attempt to withdraw the witness/victim from the community for fear of reprisal, they are constrained by the limited resources available to them. The police depend heavily on NGOs for placement of children, but NGOs tend to have strict rules on who they can admit.
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