Edo, EU, British Council strategise on response team against gender-based violence

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The Edo State Government, the European Union and the British Council have concluded plans to set-up a Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) response team, which will lead campaigns in dealing with cases relating to violence against children, women, infants and other vulnerable persons.

Addressing journalists after a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme  of the European Union and the British Council, in Benin City, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Edo State, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, said that through the collaboration, the state government will ensure that justice prevails in cases relating to sexual gender-based violence.

“This will become possible through the establishment of the SGBV response team, which will end up with a SGBV response centre to deal with different violence cases in the state. The response team will be responsible for sensitisation on the dangers of different forms and types of violence,” she said.

Prof. Omorogbe added that after the response team is set up, Edo State will become the 12th state to have such a team in place, and the 7th to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Act (VAP).

Noting that the feat is another leap towards ensuring a totally free, safe society for all residents, she explained, “This programme is driven by the rule of law components of the Office of the Vice President, the rule of law and anti-corruption programme of the British Council and funded by the European Union.”

A representative from the Office of the Vice President, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, said the team is in the state to validate a referral guideline that has been developed by the rule of law advisory team in the Office of the Vice President.

“This team will provide multi-sectoral coordination in terms of responding to sexual gender-based violence. We are here with members of the Edo State team to validate the referral guideline.”

Anambra State Project Coordinator, RoLAC Programme, Onah Josephine said key objects of RoLAC include supporting good governance in the country, adding, “We are not just supporting the SGBV but to also responding to Violence Against Persons (VAP) law passed in the state. We are advocating for Edo State to set up a dedicated Court to look into sexual offences.”

In a paper titled, “Combating Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Edo State and the way forward,” Professor of Criminology and Gender Studies in the Department of Sociology, Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Prof. Agatha Eguavoen, said violence is inflicted on women and the girl-child based on stereotype or roles expected of them.

She averred that most of the violence against women and the girl-child occur in homes, leaving the victims traumatised.