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With Idera SARC, Lagos, RoLAC ramp up fight against SGBV

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[FILES] Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-olu. Photo; TWITTER/JOKESANWOOLU

In renewed efforts to eradicate Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) at all levels and give support and succour to survivors, the Lagos State Government in partnership with the British Council’s Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (RoLAC) and the European Union this week launched a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) located within the premises of Alimosho General Hospital.

The centre, which will be known as the Idera SARC, was formally launched by the First Lady of Lagos State, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and in her address, said the establishment of the centre confirms the state’s commitment to completely stamping out SGBV in the state and the country at large, but most importantly, care for survivors of these heinous crimes.

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Appreciating the State’s Ministry of Health, RoLAC and the EU for the support and collaboration that led to the centre’s establishment, she said it has been equipped with facilities and manpower to provide services for sexual abuse and violence survivors such as counseling and psychological support, medical tests for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy, drugs and contraceptives, as well as sensitisation and awareness programs.

She added that it was reassuring and comforting that the centre was strategically established in Alimosho, which currently carries the burden of being the Local Government Area with the highest cases of domestic and sexual violence crimes.

“According to the latest statistics on SGBV crimes in the state released by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Alimosho retains its status as the LGA with the highest number of sexual violence crimes so far this year.”

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“In December 2020, my representatives were here for a Community Sensitization Meeting organized by the Ministry of Health as part of the sustained advocacy against the menace of SGBV. The SARC being launched today will greatly facilitate the necessary care for survivors of SGBV. For us in Lagos State, we have zero tolerance for these crimes. As a matter of fact, sexual abuse especially as it concerns women and children is an evil act that must not be tolerated. The devastating consequences are real and this is why we must sustain the advocacy and the fight against the menace to make society a better place for all of us, and our children. We must all support the government in the quest to confront the menace of SGBV and together, we can end it.”

Commissioner of Health, Prof Akin Abayomi in his remarks, said the rising spate of domestic and sexual violence has necessitated a more coordinated and effective response by the State Government and all stakeholders, to reduce to the barest minimum this scourge. “The health sector plays a pivotal role in the State Government’s response to GBV by providing crucial services for SGBV in the form of medical and forensic services for anyone who has been defiled, raped or sexually assaulted. So, when ROLaC proposed the idea for the establishment of a SARC in Alimosho General Hospital, we appreciated the support and collaboration.

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“Idera SARC will offer free and confidential support and information to anyone who has been a survivor of sexual violence. We have dedicated health workers who have been trained to handle cases of sexual violence more effectively. This SARC will be integrated into the general health sector response to sexual violence crimes in the state and services would be offered at no cost.”

Expressing appreciation to the EU, British Council and ROLaC, he pledged continuous support, saying they will continue to work with all partners across all levels, public and private, to ensure that access to care for victims of sexual violence is readily available.

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