Nigeria: Gender-based sexual violence – Government to train investigators and prosecutors – Malami
Federation Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami, SAN, says it is imperative to train investigators and prosecutors who deal with sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases.
Malami said this during the “first mock trial” organized by the ministry, the High Court of the CTF in collaboration with the EU under the rule of law and anti-corruption program (ROLAC) in Abuja on Monday.
“It is imperative to train these first responders in the access to justice spectrum on the collection and storage of evidence, the collection and disclosure of intelligence, the analysis of evidence and the preservation of the chain of custody.
“The elements highlighted above are essential to the success of the prosecution and conviction of offenders (SGBV).”
The minister, who was represented by Mr. Abdulrahim Shuaibu, director of the prosecution, also stressed the need to create more reference centers for sexual assault (SARC) in the country.
“This is a holistic vehicle that provides an integrated all-inclusive service among MDAs to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
“This is therefore a critical, fundamental and essential service delivery to Survivors.
“The absence of ACSR is tantamount to re-traumatizing survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, it is at the very heart of my ministerial quest and I am seriously working on an ACSIS based on access to justice that will evolve in due course. “, did he declare.
He said access to justice-based SARC will include improved health services that would address the medical, physical, mental and psychosocial consequences of sexual and gender-based violence for survivors.
“There is also a need to train our judges on how to handle cases of sexual and gender-based violence, especially with regard to the protection of victims and witnesses and the handling of evidence gathered due to the sensitive nature of these cases.
“I would like to thank all the judges, lawyers and stakeholders who took the time to participate and I assure everyone present of my dedication in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence”.
Professor Joy Ezeilo, President of SARC, that since its inception in 2013, SARC has continued to provide free emergency medical treatment, counseling and follow-up support to victims of rape and sexual assault.
“In addition to support for their engagement with the justice system.
“In just eight years, the SARC network has grown from a single SARC in Lagos to 32 SARCS in 19 states in Nigeria, helping over 22,000 survivors of sexual assault combined.
“Even with the remarkable expansion of the SARC initiative in Nigeria and the stronger national focus on comprehensive medical and counseling services for survivors, there is strong evidence that the number of cases of sexual violence and sexist reported to ACSIS is still a misrepresentation of the scale of sexual assault. in Nigeria and the number of cases being prosecuted is very low compared to the number of incidents, ”he said.
Ezeilo noted that the inauguration of the chairman of an inter-ministerial management committee on the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence is a demonstration of the government’s renewed commitment to comprehensively combat sexual and gender-based violence and to protect the victims.
“The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) program wishes to support the call and efforts to establish specialized courts for sexual and gender-based violence by organizing this simulation of specialized courts for sexual and gender-based violence.
“This will model what judicial processes and procedures focused on victims of sexual and gender-based violence would look like in the context of Nigeria’s social policy legislative environment.
“This will provide the opportunity to model police investigation and prosecution scenarios that support or undermine justice for survivors.
She said the lessons learned from the mock trials will help law enforcement, the judiciary and the criminal justice system speed up the court process in similar existing cases.
“It will also encourage justice service providers to adopt the right attitudes and tools in their interactions with victims and perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence.”