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Stakeholders decry low prosecution of domestic, sexual violence offences

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Stakeholders in Nigeria’s judicial sector has decried the judicial and prosecutorial attitude to cases of sexual and domestic violence in the country.

They raised the alarm in Abuja at a one-day meeting on the investigation and prosecution of domestic and sexual violence organised by Partnership for Justice and Open Society Justice.

According to them, open court trial is not ideal in all circumstances for the protection of victims or defendants, insisting that the Attorney General’s guidelines for prosecution and investigation are very key.

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They stressed the need for more Police officers to be trained on issues of Domestic and Sexual violence offence to enhance prosecution.  

Noting that the Police are usually complicit and tends to frustrate cases, they advised the force to learn best practices from EFCC on issues of trained staff transfers and drafting of charges.

The called for increased advocacy to the IGP on the delicate nature of domestic and sexual violence cases so as not to transfer trained staff and the need to borrow a leaf from other climes who have specialised permanent staff assigned to the department.

Executive Director, Partnership for Justice, Itoro Eze Anaba, in her opening remarks, noted that the design of the criminal justice system was not favorable to survivors and stressed the need for certain law reforms and practices to change so as to improve prosecution on sexual violence cases.  

She disclosed that inadequate funding, inefficient and ineffective collaborations between the police and office of the Director of Public Prosecution, institutional memory and continuity are few of the challenges faced in the prosecution of Sexual violence cases.

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