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Stakeholders seek recognition for handlers of GBV cases

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Stakeholders have advocated for the recognition of groups taking up cases of victims of gender-based violence (GBV) as essential workers in the country.

They made the call yesterday during ‘Share to Support and Prevent’ dialogue session on victims of sexual violence during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The one-day virtual event brought leaders of civil society organisations and the media together to reflect on gender-based violence issues during the pandemic. It was essentially aimed at highlighting the unique experiences in seven EU-ACT states, to bring out the uniqueness and innovation with which civil society groups addressed the gender-based violence challenges in their localities during the pandemic.

At the end of the meeting, they recommended strengthening of access to justice; enhancing data collection; amplifying the role of women leaders and women-led organization; advocacy for implementation of framework and passage of key legislation and increasing investment in service providers and livelihood opportunities for survivors of violence.

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While giving an overview of the experience during the lockdown, Executive Director, Women’s Rights and Health Project, Bose Irosin, advocated that promoters that seek succour for victims of gender- based violence should be included among essential service providers as their movement were restricted during the lockdown and many victims could not be reached on time.

“It’s interesting to note that the Women Affairs Ministry was not included in the COVID-19 respond team despite its importance. During the COVID-19 lockdown, a lot of women groups came up that many of them couldn’t work so, it was an eyesore, but because of the relationship and our pact with the members of the community, it made it easier for us to navigate through the police points. A woman called in the middle of the night to report her husband, but due to the lockdown, we couldn’t reach her for rescue that night but asked her to call on neighbours, but because of our relationship and our records, this particular lady was finally rescued. Right now, she’s with her family in Kwara State.”

Mainasara Umar of Nagarta Change Initiative, Sokoto, who narrated the case of a 50-year-old man who lured a nine–year-old girl and raped her, said passage of the child’s right protection laws in the 36 states of the country would go a long way in addressing gender-based violence.”

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