‘14% Nigerian women experience physical violence’
• EU seeks funding for victims’ centres
United Nations Women, yesterday, stated that 14 per cent of women in Nigeria have experienced physical violence.
It also called for collective efforts with other stakeholders to end Gender-Based Violence (GBV) against women and girls in the country.
UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms Beatrice Eyong, made the disclosure in Abuja during a media briefing and Orange Lighting of the UN building.
She said the orange came from the fire ignited by the many women groups dedicated to combating violence against women around the world.
She described the theme for this year: “United! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls” as a clarion call for all.
Eyong said: “We need to work together in unity to deal with this menace in order to achieve a meaningful and sustainable impact. We all need to invest resources, energy and time to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.
“In Nigeria, 30 per cent of girls and women, aged between 15 and 49, reported having experienced sexual abuse.
“The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey shows that 14 per cent of women in Nigeria have experienced physical violence.”
MEANWHILE, the European Union (EU) has called on federal and state governments to fund the 41 Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) across the country.
The bloc also said it has contributed over N1billion for the establishment of the centres in Nigeria.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja at the ninth Network Conference of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2023, the EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, said over 35,000 survivors have, so far, benefitted from the services of the centres.
Themed ‘Funding and Sustainability of Sexual Assault Referral Centres’, the event was organised by European Union-funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC Phase II) Programme of International Initiative for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
According to Isopi, the funding will go a long way to strengthen the centres to deliver on their mandate of providing free medical, counselling and support services to survivors of sexual violence.
While assuring that the EU is committed to ensuring that voices of victims are heard, she called for the establishment of specialised courts for sexual and gender-based violence cases.
The Project Manager, Access to Justice and Co-ordinator, Network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres, RoLAC II, Oluwatoyosi Giwa, said the SARCs were expected to provide free medical assistance, forensic medical examination, counselling and justice support services to survivors of the act.
In his remarks, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, represented by Yewande Gbola-Awopetu, called for multi-sectoral support from relevant stakeholders for smooth operation of the centres and support from the states through budgetary allocations and human resources services.
Also, the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, tasked states to allocate funds to the centres in their respective 2024 budgets.
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