Men of the Nigeria Police have been tasked on breaking the cycle of increasing burden of rape, sexual assaults and other forms of violence against young girls and women by sharpening their skills on modern methods of cracking such challenges.
This call was made by the chief executive officer and director, Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF)Dr Kemi Da-Silva Ibru during an interactive session with the men of the Force in Lagos.
Dr Da-Silva-Ibru was the guest of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni and some of the Area Commanders where she spoke extensively on why the Police need to be abreast of current trends on sexual assaults and domestic violence especially against women and girls.
Da-Silva-Ibru noted that the increase in reported cases of sexual molestations, rape and human trafficking among women and girls in the country is as a result of the conscious awareness that these are crimes committed against humanity.
She pointed out that the foundation was created to raise more awareness and advocate against the increasing prevalence of sexual violence experienced by women and is doing the best it can to ensure that these women have a safe place if and whenever such violence occurs.
The Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist has therefore encouraged the Nigerian Police to send cases of sexual assault and rape seen at Police stations to referral centres such as the WARIF Centre in Yaba, where adequate medical treatment and counselling can be given.
As a member of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) DaSilva Ibru also guarantees the organization’s commitment to working alongside law enforcement in the state, ensuring the wellbeing of survivors.
She assured that WARIF Centre has a team of qualified full time medical staff, specifically trained to carry out medical examinations and obtain biological specimens to facilitate the collection of evidence that would help with police investigations.
She observed that in the event of survivors recanting for fear of stigmatization and discrimination, counselors trained by the Washington DC Rape Crisis Centre (DCRCC) in partnership with WARIF, are on ground to assist with the healing process, ensuring survivors become empowered and seek justice if this is their choice.
In addition, Dr. DaSilva discussed other preventive measures being carried out by WARIF with the implementation of a Youth Based Awareness Program in secondary schools and later on in higher institutions.
According to her, the curriculum is based on creating awareness and the importance of gender equality, a change in behavior and practices and the prevention of gender based violence in our schools and communities.
Dr Da-Silva Ibru emphasized the “importance of a society that speaks out against these acts, supports and protects the survivors and encourages the punishment of perpetrators”.
In his short remark, Owoseni commended the initiative od WARIF and encouraged Dr Da-Silva Ibru to continue with the great vision promising that the Police Command in Lagos is willing to assist survivors with the much needed care that is needed saying sexual assault is a dehumanising act.
He assured that all survivors will be encouraged to visit the WARIF Centre for adequate professional care.