The Network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) in North East, have urged state governments in the sub-region to adopt and domesticate enabling legislations needed to contain raising Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
The call was contained in a communique of the first meeting of network of SARCs that brought together stakeholders from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
The communique said state governments and civil society organizations should adapt and domesticate such laws like the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and Child Right Act and other enabling legislations to prevent SGBV and ensure protection for survivors of such violence.
The communique also urged the police and judiciary on the need to ensure speedy prosecution of SGBV cases and effective dispensation of justice for survivors.
It further urged state governments on the need to establish SARCs in other locations outside state capitals and equip primary health centres with facilities to provide services to survivors of SGBV.
“State governments should ensure access to medical, psycho-social and legal services are free for survivors of SGBV;
“Development programme and government should provide support to CSOs and the media to sustain publicity and awareness on SGBV and available SARC services for survivors;
“Traditional rulers and community leaders should take stronger measures to address traditions and beliefs systems that create congenial environment for rising incidence of SGBV and culture of silence.”
The communique expressed special appreciation to European Union funded Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) programme, Pathfinder International, UNFPA and Presidential Committee on North East Initiative (PCNI) for providing resources that ensure the establishment and funding of the SARCs in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
The communique was signed by Prof. Muhammad Tabiu, the National Programme Manager MCN. Other signatories are: Mr Ali Grema, Mrs Fatima Abbo-Jimeta and Mr Abdullahi Danchua, the chairpersons of SARCS Steering Committees in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states respectively.
The meeting held in Abuja at Chelsea Hotel was organized by MCN where stakeholders from MDAs, CSOs, security agencies, media, traditional and religious leaders reviewed progress recorded and share lessons on experiences in managing SARCS and advocated for policies and practices to address SGBV in the insurgency affected North East.