British Council, FG Announce New Strategies To End Gender-Based Violence In Nigeria

British Council, FG Announce New Strategies To End Gender-Based Violence In Nigeria

  • Nigeria could be on the path to ending sexual and gender-based violence across states of the country
  • The British Council in collaboration with the ministry of justice and NAPTIP are working to ensure the protection of survivors of SGBV
  • There would also be various activities lined up to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2021

With the hope to curb gender-based violence in Nigeria and ensure that perpetrators of such criminal activities face justice, the British Council has partnered with the Nigerian government to carry out a mock Sexual and Gender-Based Violent Court.

The mock court will take place between Monday, November 29 and Wednesday, December 1, from 10 am to 4 pm at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja.

It would provide a platform to demonstrate what survivor-centred justice processes could look like in the Nigerian context.

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RoLAC of British Council
Essien said the drivers of SGBV are manifold and are structural Photo: Nnenna Ibeh
Source: Original

This was announced by Hannatu Essien, the programme office for the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme of the British Council, at a press briefing attended by Legit.ng in Abuja on Tuesday, November 23.

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The initiative is organised by the British Council in collaboration with the federal ministry of justice, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT judiciary and the National Agency for the prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

It is also part of the activities streamlined in commemoration of 16 Days of Activism 2021 - The Survivor Project.

Continuing Essien said the mock court will also provide an opportunity to model court hearings, police investigations and prosecution scenarios that could support compassionate justice for survivors of gender-based violence.

It would help in the gathering of lessons learnt for what judges and police investigators should do differently while handling cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

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According to the United Nations Women, nearly one in three women have been abused in their lifetime and these numbers rise in times of crisis as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic or in conflicts.

A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that two in three women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence.

The report also said that women are more likely to face food insecurity.

However, only one in 10 women confirmed that victims of these crimes would go to the police for help.

In Nigeria, since the establishment of the Sexual Assualt Referral Centre (SARC), 23,207 survivors of sexual assault combined have been assisted between July 2013 and September 2021, with over 70 per cent of the survivors being children under the age of 18 years.

Essien said despite the robust spread of SARC in Lagos and 19 states of Nigeria - totalling 32 centres across the country, the number of SGBV cases reported to centres is still a poor representation of the scale of sexual assault in Nigeria.

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She said:

"For many years, there has been a steady call for the establishment of specialised courts for SGBV in Nigeria to address delays in the justice process."
"Most recently, this call was echoed by the attorney general of the federation and the minister for justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN)."
"The AGF's call followed the inauguration in 2020 by the president, of an Inter-Ministerial Management Committee on Eradication of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, a demonstration of the government’s renewed commitment to comprehensively address SGBV and protect victims."

She said that the RoLAC programme supports this call with the aim to explore relevant policy options, guidelines and recommendations for establishing or designating special courts for SGBV across Nigeria.

In addition to the mock trials, Essien reeled some of the activities lined up by the team to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV 2021.

Some of the activities lined up for the 16 Days of Activism 2021

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1. The 7th Conference of Network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)

This event would take place on Thursday, November 25, with a plenary session on practical approaches as well as policy options for establishing or designating specialised courts to handle SGBV cases.

At the event policymakers, heads of government institutions, ministries and departments, civil society organisations, heads of state governments ministries, SARC centre managers would be attending.

2. Hear Word! - A Stage Play

Hear Word! is a theatre production that presents an intimate view of the obstacles that Nigerian women face.

This will include telling stories of domestic violence, the absence of women from positions of power, resilience and resistance, shattering the culture of silence, overturning the status quo, abuse, disrespect, bravery, sisterhood and joy.

The event would take place on Thursday, November 25 by 6 pm.

3. Counselling and Legal Clinics

This would take place between Monday, November 29 and Wednesday, December 1 (10 am to 4 pm daily) at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

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The event is organised by the European Union and the British Council in collaboration with the ministry of justice FCT judiciary and NAPTIP.

There would be free counselling and a legal clinic for survivors in the FCT. Survivors will be offered free legal advice, counselling and access to broader support services.

4. Public Presentation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in Nigeria (VAPPA) Annual Report

A public presentation of the first-ever Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in Nigeria (VAPPA) Annual Report by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in fulfilment of Section 42 of the VAPP Act 2015.

This presentation will take place on Wednesday, 3 December 2021 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel by 10 am.

FCT community adopts sensitization to curb SGBV

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the traditional leader of the Galadimawa community in the suburb area of the Federal Capital Territory said he uses various approaches to stem possible triggers of gender-based violence among residents.

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The Esu of Galadimawa Community, Abuja, His Royal Highness Tanko Zhamiko said the sensitization of residents of the community has been key to identifying early warning signs of GBV.

He also said that to achieve this, he established a team of council members whose tasks included sensitizing the people of the dangers of GBV and identifying early warning signs of GBV.

According to Zhamiko, members of the Galadimawa community are constantly informed about the need to always speak up and speak out in the face of any form of abuse or violence.

The federal government has warned that SGBV is a crime against the state

The Nigerian government had warned that any form of SGBV is a crime against the Nigerian state and not just against the survivor of the criminal act

The government said that SGBV thrives in the environment due to socio-cultural norms which are deep-rooted in the society

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Also, Nigerians have been warned by the FG to always protect survivors of all forms of gender-based violence from further harm The federal

Source: Legit.ng News

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