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close this bookHIV/AIDS and Communication for Behavioural and Social Change: Programme Experiences, Examples, and the Way Forward (UNAIDS, 2001, 68 p.)
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View the documentCase: Child Courts in Zimbabwe
View the documentCase: Sincere Community Centers in Malaysia
View the documentCase: Buddhist Principles to Cope With AIDS

Case: Child Courts in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean government deserves credit for modifying its legal and judicial proceedings to protect the rights of sexually assaulted children. Prior to the establishment of the child-friendly courts, children faced hostile questioning in regular courtrooms, face-to-face with their adult abusers. Intimidated by the courtroom atmosphere, they often broke down, refused to speak, or had great difficulty in describing the sexual act. Without their testimony, the accused were often acquitted.

Today, when a sexual offence complaint is initiated on behalf of a child, the Zimbabwean police and social welfare officers work with the child to reduce their physical and emotional trauma. Children now give courtroom testimony sitting in a separate room through close-circuit television, removed from the gaze of their abuser. A trained intermediary relays the court’s question to the child in a gentle language that the child can understand. The child can also use male and female dolls to demonstrate the sexual act without describing it.

In 2000, every province in Zimbabwe has at least one child-friendly court. The child-friendly courts represent a culturally-sensitive government intervention to protect the rights of the young people.

Source: UNAIDS (2000a, p. 53).

#2. Socioeconomic Status: With respect to the contextual domain of socioeconomic status, it may be useful to understand:

· What role does poverty play in exacerbating local vulnerability to HIV/AIDS?

· What may be certain local mechanisms to alleviate poverty and vulnerability for those at risk for HIV/AIDS?

· What mechanisms may stimulate local income-generating activities?

· What local mechanisms can ensure equal access of all citizens to job opportunities, educational services, and care and support facilities?

· What is the role of key governmental, civil society, and private actors in vocational training, education, and employment generation?

#3. Culture: With respect to the contextual domain of culture, it may be useful to understand:

· What is the nature of relationships between people in families (including husband-wife, parent-child, extended kinship networks, and intergenerational dynamics)?

· What is the nature of relationships between people in neighbourhood communities?

· What types of oral and visual media are used in the community, especially traditional media forms?

· What is the role of cultural gatekeepers in community information flows?

· What are the positive and negative attributes of the local community’s culture with respect to HIV/AIDS?