Following the USAID grant awarded to WARIF via the Pathfinder platform, the Women at Risk Foundation (WARIF) has trained 40 law enforcement agents across Lagos districts on adequate gender based violence management and the role of law enforcement in the sexual assault landscape. This interactive workshop session took place at the WARIF Centre, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre run by the organisation, on the 30th of August, 2018.
The gender sensitization interactive workshop brought together members of the Lagos State Police Force across Alakara, Ketu, Ajah, Adeniji, Ilupeju and Alakuko districts to educate them on rape, domestic and physical violence and sexual assault, as well as the techniques to identify, manage and refer potential cases to the WARIF Centre.
The workshop also served as a platform to teach the law enforcement agents about the services WARIF offers such as medical consultations, treatment and screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), counselling and social welfare intervention. Knowledge about these services provided by WARIF will ensure that law enforcement agencies adequately refer survivors to the Centre.
“Based on our current statistics and confirmed by the organisation,approximately 10,000 girls are sexually assaulted or raped every day in Nigeria. In addition to hospitals and primary healthcare centres, Police stations are usually the first point of contact for many of the survivors of rape and sexual violence in our communities” said Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, founder of WARIF. This is why we have taken this critical step to ensure that Law Enforcement are sensitized to these cases and are trained on the appropriate responses , documentation and referral of these cases to centres such as the WARIF Centre.
We also want to encourage survivors of rape and sexual violence to speak up and reach out to law enforcement agents when these situations occur, being assured that these cases will be handled in an appropriate manner. We hope this training session is the first of many more to come, as we build a strong lasting partnership with the law enforcement agencies, specifically the Police Force that is successful in assisting in the fight against rape and sexual violence in Nigeria today,and we urge all other agencies to join in”she added.
The overall objectives of the USAID grant awarded to WARIF are to promote improved medical services for rape and assault victims, psychosocial counselling, and training of secondary school girls on sexual assault through the WARIF Educational School Programme.