Adult Rape Clinic (ARC) is an organisation in Zimbabwe working primarily to deliver medicolegal and counselling services to child, adolescent and adult survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Through their project, ARC has supported nearly 1,800 children and 725 adult survivors of SGBV to access treatment, care, and resources. They also conduct awareness raising, education, advocacy, training, and research that works towards changing mindsets and attitudes on SGBV.
The Termination of Pregnancy (ToP) Act in Zimbabwe guarantees free and legal access to abortion services in the cases of rape, incest, when the health or life of the pregnant person is at risk, or in the case of foetal anomalies. However, knowledge of this constitutional right and availability of the service at health care facilities remain very low; stigma, discrimination, and a poor understanding of the legal framework means many healthcare providers do not offer the service. This results in many girls and women either reporting long after delivery, or when pregnancy is advanced beyond the termination period. Ultimately, this barrier results in unsafe abortions.
In their project, ARC is leading a series of trainings to equip health care workers with essential knowledge of the ToP process, highlight and strengthen referral pathways, and improve the quality of post-rape abortion care. ARC is also combating stigma around abortion care among healthcare workers. Working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, they trained 128 medical, legal, and social care providers in five provinces to improve access to abortion services after rape. As a result of the training, 79% of medical personnel reported increased confidence in performing abortion services, as well as a positive change in attitude towards referring or providing abortion care.