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Coalition of 250 CSOs brings GBV to focus during sit-at-home

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AS the Federal Government intensifies efforts to curtail the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, a rights group has drawn attention to gender-based violence (GBV). 

It said President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech to the nation did not address issues of GBV at a time most victims of GBV would be locked in with their assailants. 

This is contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi; Secretary-General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Saudatu Mahdi; and Country Director, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nigeria, Joy Onyesoh, on behalf of over 250 civil society groups nationwide.

The statement read in part, “As the nation locks down, and in a bid to prevent the pandemic, it is important that support and protection services are available and accessible, so that women are shielded from the risks of transferred aggression in their homes.

“Focused sensitisation and information on essential services are important for women and other marginalised groups who may be in violent situations arising in family settings, neighbourhoods or from the actions or inactions of other state and non-state actors. 

“From experience, it is our opinion that in these circumstances, it will be more difficult for women to seek help or escape from abusive relationships, particularly where they live with the abusive partner during the lockdown. Equally worrisome is that children are also open to more violence and will need protection during this period.”

Hence, the group sought a strengthening of gender desks and family support units within police departments and other departments of governments, “to ensure that they are provided with effective telephone hotlines that persons with disabilities and vulnerable citizens can report domestic violence or any other GBV and get immediate help.”


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