Social Worker Decries Lack of Special Courts to Try Cases of Gender-Based Violence

Social Worker Decries Lack of Special Courts to Try Cases of Gender-Based Violence

- A social worker has said that Nigeria lacks special courts needed to handle cases of gender-based violence

- Ngozi Ike said these courts are needed to handle cases of violence against women and girls across the country

- According to Ike, the establishment of such courts would speed up the trial of perpetrators of gender-based violence

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With the increasing cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria, a social worker has decried the lack of special courts for the trial of cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Ngozi Ike, the desk officer, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sexual and gender-based violence response team, said having special courts across the country would help speed up the process of justice delivery on cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

Ike said this at the training on Ethical Reporting and Advocacy to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja attended by a reporter.

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The training was organized by Spotlight Initiative Nigeria in collaboration with the European Union, the National Orientation Agency and the Children Righ Information Bureau of Information.

She said:

“We lack special courts in Nigeria to hear such delicate cases. When you take these cases to the regular courts, they linger for a long period of time and this is not good at all.
"If we can push for the establishment of special courts that will preside over sexual and domestic violence cases, it will go a long way in according justice to survivors.
"We did it during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and within a short period of time, mobile courts were set up to try violators of the COVID-19 guidelines.”

Ike also said that all over FCT, there has been only one conviction out of the 444 reported cases of sexual offences this year.

In her remarks, Tochi Odele, UNICEF's child protection officer said violence against women and girls usually occur in trusted environments.

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Social Worker Decries Lack of Special Courts to Try Cases of Gender-Based Violence
UNICEF called for partnership in galvanising responses to violence against women and girls. Photo: @UNICEF_Nigeria
Source: Twitter

She said such offences are perpetrated by trusted individuals - mostly family members, caregivers and people who the society hold in very high esteem.

Odele said:

“It is important to note that violence is rarely an isolated case and the majority of children experience violence in their homes and familiar environments.”

Listing challenges encountered in the delivery of justice to survivors of gender-based violence, Odele said most times, people do not believe the stories of survivors of gender or sexual-based violence.

Odele also added that six per cent of women experience violence during pregnancy, while one in four women and girls have experienced some form of sexual violence.

She further explained that women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience violence of any form.

Odele said the non-ratification of the Child Right Acts, by 13 states out of 36 states in Nigeria, has made violence against girls worse.

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In his welcome remarks, the Chief Child Protector, UNICEF, Ibrahim Sesay, said as media practitioners you need to have a strategic partnership on issues surrounding women and girls with stakeholders.

Sesay said:

"To move and ascertain those results we have committed some funds globally to mitigate issues on violence against women and girls.
"The voice of media is powerful but it has to be ethical in nature, the privacy of survival. We must not expose the images of survival that could embarrass or re-victimise them.”

Meanwhile, previously reported that UNICEF said the number of birth registration in Nigeria has increased by 29 million.

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Assessing the report of the birth registration programme implemented by the National Population Commission (NPoPC), with support from UNICEF said the registration of children between the ages of zero and 17 years in Nigeria increased by about 29 million.

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The report said the programme increased the registration of birth for children under age one by more than 100 per cent the number of children registered from three million in 2012 to 11 million in 2016.

In other news, the Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has also been commended for promoting the wellbeing of girls in the state.

The commendation was given to Ugwuanyi and his wife for their commitment to the life of the girl child.


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