It is no longer mandatory according to the multi sectoral protocol on sexual violence management document to first report rape to the police before seeking medical treatment.

This came out during a roundtable discussion for media practitioners that was organised by an organisation called ‘Doctors Without Borders’.

The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness about sexual violence to both electronic and print media practitioners and to engage the media personnel with a view to promote sustainable awareness raising in communities through their work.

Doctors Without Borders health promotions officer Mr Brian Hove says it is important to note that it is no longer mandatory to first report rape to the police.

The multi sectoral protocol on sexual violence stipulates that one can access medical treatment first and then go and report after wards but its however still mandatory to report rape cases for people below the age of 16.

Medical treatment after rape is an emergence and should be accessed within the first 72 hours for the most comprehensive care and these services are available in Zimbabwe for free in all government, mission and post rape clinics said Mr Hove.

In Zimbabwe statistics indicate that at least 27 percent of the women population have experienced sexual violence and some of the cases go unreported.

The discussions also focused on how to manage sexual violence after it emerged that sometimes under-age girls are being pushed into early marriages by relatives.