The United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) has partnered government of Cross River State to commission the first ever gender based violence prevention and response centre.
First Lady of Cross River, Mrs. Linda Ayade launching the centre which is was initiated by the Ministry of Women Affairs described the project as laudable and one that will give succour to women in the state who are at the receiving end of gender based violence.
Statistics have it that one in five women aged 15-49 years in Cross River State have experienced sexual violence. The National Demographic Health Survey, 2013 also reveals that the percentage of women aged 15-49 who have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 is 65.5% in Cross River State.
Equally, about 46.5% of women (15-49 years) who experienced violence never sought help or never told anyone about the violence.
According to the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, Gender-based violence (GBV) is under-reported in all settings and recorded cases represent only a small fraction of the overall total.
GBV against women and girls is among the most widespread violations of human rights, with a significant impact on physical, psychological, sexual and reproductive health. Low levels of awareness of the rights of survivors and a lack of access to health, legal, protection and psychological services for survivors contribute to high levels of under-reporting leaving survivors with the trauma of violence.
Although a number of GBV related legislations and policies exist, the prevalence of GBV in Cross River State remains high.
Whereas punishment of crimes is crucial, the UNFPA recognises that other programs must be put in place, especially towards GBV survivor support and as such, a multi-sectoral response is required to offer comprehensive support to GBV survivors.
By ensuring the availability of an effective support system, the state sends a message that violence against women is a serious crime and will not be tolerated.
The UNFPA therefore in partnership with the Cross River Ministry of Women Affairs established the first ever GBV Prevention and Response Centre.
The UNFPA supported the conceptualization, refurbishment, capacity building of GBV first responders and all stakeholders’ consultations for the successful roll-out of the center.
The launch of this center noted the UN agency will help to link the community, hospitals and the different sectors that offer GBV response services such as legal, psychosocial and security.
The GBV center shall provide confidential, non-judgmental and respectful comprehensive survivor-centered care. This will ensure the protection and assistance of survivors, to aid their full recovery and empowerment.\
The center will also have a Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) to enable those providing services to GBV survivors to effectively and safely collect, store, analyse and share data related to the reported incidents of GBV.
UNFPA in a statement noted it is committed to working with the ministry and all stakeholders to make Cross River State a model for its GBV interventions in the humanitarian and development context and the launch of the One Stop Centre is one of the many efforts to address the problem of Gender Based Violence in the state. UNFPA’s dedication to end gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls is part of the agency’s obligation to end this brutal human rights violation and one of its key transformative results to be achieved by 2030.