Kano to get sex­ual as­sault re­fer­ral cen­tre

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Naz­ifi Dawud Khalid, Kano

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.

Photo Sani Maikatanga

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.

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