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With first referral centre, Ekiti set to fight sexual, gender based violence

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Ekiti govt launches referral centre for survivors of sexual assault

The Ekiti State government has opened its first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) named Moremi Clinic. The centre aims to tackle rising cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases in the state.

The clinic would serve as a free, one-stop, survivor-centred place that would prioritise the rights and needs of sexual violence survivors. The state’s Gender-Based Violence Law Management Committee, the body responsible for implementing the 2019 GBV law in the state, established the facility.

According to the SARC Coordinator, Barrister Rita Ilevbare, the centre will free of charge, screen and offer preventive treatment for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), collect and process forensic evidence, support legal processes, provide a medical report, treat and care for child victims of SGBV, collect and manage relevant data; provide counselling, information and support for parents, family members and partners as well as educate and provide information to community or professional groups.

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Chaired by the First Lady of the state, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the rapid response team has Ilevbare, Barrister Shirley Atane (legal adviser, gender and vulnerable persons unit, the office of the first lady) and Precious Olofinyokun (Program assistant, gender and vulnerable person unit) on it.

The clinic also boasts of a medical team, counselling team, legal team, police team and community outreach team with members drawn from the ministry of women affairs and social development, state AIDS control agency, the office of the first lady and governor, Ekiti FIDA, Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) amongst other non-governmental organisations.

Situated in the state’s university teaching hospital in Ado-Ekiti, the commissioner for Women Affairs and social development, Ekiti State, Moji Fafure said the centre was a long time coming and it is the state’s desire to make it a truly one-stop place of refuge for SGBV survivors.

“This is a step in the right direction and it is our desire to rid Ekiti of SGBV cases. The state government has zero tolerance towards SGBV, FGM and other forms of sexual harassment and to ensure the security of victims and access to justice. The state has already started registering convicted sex offenders in the state’s Ministry of Justice Sex Offender’s Register and we will continue to add more offenders as soon as they are convicted. It is our hope that this centre will help accelerate and facilitate convictions of sex offenders and bring succor to survivors.”

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