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At Lagos Assembly, Women groups demand robust law on domestic violence

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A total of 241 women groups have sort a more robust and comprehensive law on domestic violence, decrying the state of domestic and sexual based violence in the state. The group made this demand known during a symbolic walk and consultative meeting with member of the House of Assembly, led by the speaker, Mudashiru Obas, , yesterday in Lagos.

In a 10-point demand signed by  five EU-UN Spotlight Initiative partners including Itoro Eze-Anaba, Executive Director, Partnership for Justice; Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre; and Barr Phil Nneji, Lagos Chairperson, Federation of Women Lawyers, in commemoration of the ongoing global 16 Days of Activism  Against Gender-Based Violence, the group said the current law has little or no punishments prescribed for several acts of violence prohibited.

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Among the 10 point agenda presented to the Lagos Assembly, Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi who led the women group said they seek a more comprehensive law, adequate resources should be made available for prevention, protection and effective response to gender-based violence including support for a special funding.

“Adequate funds for the establishment of shelters for survivors of domestic violence where none exists and for making the existing ones effective, whether established by the state or non-state actors; for exisiting Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs) and provision of funding for the integration of the services offered by SARCs into existing health service centers across the three senatorial zones (counselling, rehabilitation and support services)”

The group further seek an allocation of Special funds for legal aid to the Legal Aid Council and relevant CSOs to help survivors of VWAG/SGBV to claim their rights and enforce the law. Allocation of funds for an upgrade of the justice system to be able to provide online services in order to enhance access to justice for survivors of VAWG/SGBV during emergency situations as well as legslation of sex-offender register and publication of names of sex offenders and funding support for designated special court on sexual violence in Lagos state.

In response, Obasa commended their efforts while showing commitment that the house is fully out to support all activities to end this menance. “Rape is becoming alarming in our society and I believe that everyone including men, boys and even traders should be sensitised on this. I think it is a psychological problem for a 60 year old man to sexually violate a minor. We must try our best to eradicate this menace in our society.

“We have a bill before us which is in its econd reading today on domestic violence and sexual right, we need to put heads together to fight this, I assure you that the Lagos State house of assembly is willing and ready, hence all hands must be on deck.”

Obasa however applauded the wife of the state governor for her concerted effort being in the forefront in the fight against domestic and gender based violence in the state.

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