Kano to get sexual assault referral centre
The Department for International Development (DFID) sponsored Justice for All Programme will assist Civil Society Programmes to set up a Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARCs) in an effort to tackle the rising cases of rape and sexual violence in Kano State.
In an event attended by officials of the police, judicial officers, lawyers, medical personnel and gender activists in Kano yesterday, the organizers highlighted the difficulties encountered by rape victims in accessing justice and the need to assist them.
Speaking to newsmen,
the Country Director of the Justice for All Programme, Bob Arnold said the SARCs seeks to address issues of gender-based violence and sexual assault by providing medical assistance, counselling and access to justice.
“The SARCs doesn’t need a great deal of money to establish. It’s a question of bringing together people from the hospitals, social work departments, justice ministries and the police to coordinate efforts at solving rape and sexual assault cases,” he said.
Arnold said his organization has helped in establishing two sexual assault referral centers in Lagos and Enugu states, and that they have provided medical and counselling services to almost 1,200 victims.
He added that the number of clients that besiege the two centers has shown that sexual violence is a growing problem in Nigeria that could only be successfully addressed if victims come forward to report and if perpetrators are prosecuted.
“At the end of the day, unless we start prosecuting people, this problem will never go away. Unfortunately, we cannot claim victory in this regard because the disposal of cases is very low. Even with forensic evidence, there is a climate of resistance by families of victims who are reluctant to report cases because of stigmatization,” he said.
On his part, the SolicitorGeneral of Kano State, Mukhtar Sani Daneji, who represented the state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said the minimum penalty for convicted rapists is now 14 years imprisonment without option of fine or life imprisonment in extreme cases.
“Because of the rising level of rape cases and sexual assault in Kano state, we have reviewed our laws and raised the number of years for rapists from the minimum of three years to 14 years in jail and there has been an increase in the rate of prosecution,” he said.
Participants during a one day conference on how to stop violence against women and rape, organised by Justice For All and DFID in Kano yesterday.